16:32 GMT22 April 2021
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    Israel's Prime Minister will now have 28 days to form a coalition, something he has been struggling with. But his supporters are convinced that this time around he will nail it. Others, who back the opposition, say his chances remain slim.

    When Israel's President Reuven Rivlin announced on Tuesday that he was entrusting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of forming a government, supporters of the PM gave a sigh of relief.

    Discussing the developments of the past several days, many took to the social media networks to express their support for Netanyahu, who will now have 28 days to build a coalition, something he had failed to do four times before.

    "Bibi, go and form that government. We are back to life," wrote one tweep.

    ​"Yair Lapid is an Amalek [enemy]. Netanyahu is a champion. He will form a government for Israel for another four years".

    ​Shameful Deed

    For many others, however, the mere fact that Netanyahu was entrusted with the role of forming a government was a mistake and a "shameful" deed that should not be forgiven.

    "On Monday the accused [e.g. Netanyahu  - ed.] shows up in court. On Tuesday the accused receives a mandate to form a government. Sodom and Gomorrah, it is here," wrote one tweep. 

    ​Another one added. "A prime minister who is immersed so deeply in investigations has no public and moral mandate to determine the fate of Israel, because there is a real fear - not unfounded - that he will make decisions based on his personal interest of a political survival and not on the national interest of the country..."

    ​"...the very fact that he is accused of crimes (!!) and the fact that he received a mandate from the president - is a shame for the State of Israel, a shame for the presidential institution, a shame for statehood, a shame for the Knesset, a shame for the government, just a shame".

    ​Netanyahu, whose trial resumed in Jerusalem on Monday, faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a series of graft probes that include buying positive coverage and receiving gifts from a rich donor.

    The PM denies all allegations against him, saying the cases were invented by his opponents, the media, the police and the judiciary in an attempt to oust a strong right-wing leader.

    But for the liberal circles that filed several petitions to the High Court of Justice asking it to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government, such accusations towards the country's institutions are unacceptable and this is also the reason, why they hope that by the end of the 28 days, the PM will have no government.

    Forming a Government Won't Be Easy

    His task doesn't promise to be easy. Together with his natural allies, a bloc of three religious parties, Netanyahu has 52 out of 61 seats needed to retain his role.

    Seven more seats are expected to be added if Netanyahu manages to strike a deal with Naftali Bennett, who is set to meet the premier on Thursday.

    Two more are yet nowhere to be found, unless a miracle occurs and the PM manages to sweet talk a couple of opponents to defect from their parties to the pro-Netanyahu bloc.

    In the past, he's managed to pull that trick. Now, however, after Israel's media smear campaign to those, who defected before, that gimmick might not work and this means that Netanyahu's chances of forming a government remain to be slim.

    The PM's opponents and their loyalists see it as a ray of hope and believe it would pave the way for the establishment of a liberal government in Israel.

    "Rivlin recommended Netanyahu. Camp of change, now we need to be patient, determined and united. Extension was forced upon us, but victory is still in our hands".

    ​"We have people, we can rely on," wrote another tweep, commenting on the photo of the head of the opposition Yair Lapid and his allies Avigdor Lieberman and Merav Michaeli. "The camp of change [title the anti-Netanyahu bloc has given itself - ed.] is not afraid of a long road. The State of Israel is against the accused [Netanyahu], against Bibism and his corruption."

    ​Yet, despite loud words and impressive determination, the liberal circles of Israel will also find it hard to build a government, if they are given a chance.

    To start off, they will need to put past grievances aside, including those between Lapid and his former ally Benny Gantz, who defected to Netanyahu.

    Secondly, they will need to think of a way how conflicting sides, from the right and the left, sit together in one government and lastly they will have to figure out how that incoherent coalition passes laws to the benefit of the general public.

    For now, the liberal bloc still has time to figure it out. But Netanyahu's supporters are certain that they will not have a chance to build a coalition.

    "There is a small group of people that are so obsessed with the prime minister that it is inconceivable. Despite their anger, Netanyahu will continue to be the Prime Minister of Israel for many years to come."

    ​"Bibi is the king of Israel. And all the clowns that want to oust him will eventually fall into the hole they dug for him".

    Tags:
    governments, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu
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