In his first remarks since the formation of a government coalition that appears likely to remove him from his post, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the power-sharing alliance Thursday.
On Wednesday, opposition lawmakers said they have agreed to the power-sharing deal that would oust Netanyahu as prime minister in what would be Israel’s first leadership change in more than a decade.
The coalition would first replace Netanyahu with Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett, who would serve for two years before being succeeded by Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid as prime minister.
The agreement needs full approval from the Israeli Knesset, but that could come within a couple weeks.
Thursday, Netanyahu called the conservative Bennett a traitor and his alliance with Lapid “dangerous,” according to Haaretz.
The anti-Netanyahu coalition includes eight parties from the left to the far right. For the first time, it also includes an Arab party, the United Arab List, in the governing coalition.
Netanyahu said “all Knesset members elected by right-wing votes” should oppose the new coalition and attempted to paint Bennett as a “sell-out.”
Ahead of the looming Knesset vote, Bennett has been given full prime-ministerial protection by the Israeli security force Shin Bet.
The coalition could end lingering political turmoil in Israel, which has staged several unsuccessful elections in the last two years. Following those elections, neither Netanyahu nor his opponents were able to put together a lasting coalition government.
Wednesday, Israeli politician Isaac Herzog was chosen to replace President Reuven Rivlin when he leaves office next month. Herzog’s father was prime minister of Israel between 1983 and 1993.