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After 15 years leading Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu's time may be up

Benjamin Netanyahu in final days of power
Benjamin Netanyahu in final days of power 01:21

Tel Aviv — Israel's longest-serving prime minister could be thrown out of office on Sunday. After years of inconclusive election results, an alliance of right-wing, left-wing, centrist and Arab lawmakers claim to have just enough votes in Israel's parliament to form a new government and unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

As CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agagta reports, the stage is set for the most volatile political upheaval Israel has seen in over a decade. Netanyahu has labeled the new coalition poised to unseat him "the greatest election fraud in the history of democracy." 

The coalition hoping to topple Netanyahu is led by the premier's former ally, Naftali Bennett, who has forged an uneasy alliance across the political spectrum — including, for the first time, with an Arab Islamist party. 

The crisis comes just weeks after Israel's military waged an intense fight against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, and as Netanyahu continues to battle corruption charges that he's dismissed as a political conspiracy.  

Netanyahu's foes have already accused him of stoking unrest.

Bennett, the man poised to be Israel's next prime minister, has told Netanyahu to "let it go," and not leave scorched earth behind him as he departs the post he's held for the last 12 years — his second term.

Nadav Argaman, the head of Israel's national security service Shin Bet, took the unusual step of issuing a public statement warning of a serious rise in hate speech — especially on social media platforms — amid the politically charged atmosphere in Israel, which he said could lead to physical violence. 

But the prime minister appeared determined to fight to the bitter end. For days he's been trying to rally his supporters against the coalition to sway the razor-thin majority held by the bloc.

FILE PHOTO: Naftali Bennett gives a statement at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem
Naftali Bennett, Israeli parliament member from the Yamina party, gives a statement at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 6, 2021.  Menahem Kahana/Pool/REUTERS

Even if the fragile coalition does manage to hold it together long enough for Bennett to be sworn in as the new prime minister, Netanyahu will remain a powerful foe.

As leader of the country's largest party, Likud, Netanyahu would continue to challenge the new government.

The most savvy politician in Israel's history will no doubt be plotting a comeback, even before being forced out of power.

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