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Coalition Crumbles, Sends Israel Back to Elections

June 23, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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Yair Lapid will serve as interim prime minister

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 | Israel’s teetering government is finally ready to topple over the edge, as the Knesset (Parliament) is set to dissolve next week, sending Israel into another round of elections in October.

After staying afloat for over a year, the government dissolving will trigger Israel’s fifth election in less than four years.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced yesterday that they will present a bill to the Knesset next Monday to dissolve the governing body. The bill is expected to be supported by both the coalition as well as the opposition.

Lapid will step in as interim prime minister, as one of the provisions agreed upon in forming the current coalition.

Bennett made a statement following the announcement touting his doomed coalition, which he called a “good government, and together we got Israel out of the slump.”

“Over the past weeks,” Bennett continued, “we did whatever we could to save this government, not for us, but for the benefit of the country. I held many talks and understood that if the Knesset did not dissolve within 10 days, Israel’s security would be severely harmed.”

Bennett was referring to the bill that allows Israel to extend its law over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank. The bill was set to expire at the end of the month and was being blocked for renewal by political deadlock.

Dissolving the government was the only way to extend the bill, according to the Jerusalem Post, which will grant an automatic extension until three months following the formation of the next government. If the bill had expired, Jews and Arabs in Israel’s biblical heartland would be governed under military law and tried in military courts.

Therefore, Bennett said the decision to dissolve the government “isn’t an easy moment” but was the right decision for the Jewish state.

Lapid in his statement said that the dissolving of the government “is further proof that the Israeli system is in need of serious change and major repairs. A year ago, we started the process of rebuilding, and now we’re carrying it on, and carrying it on together.”

The coalition built by Bennett and Lapid lasted just one year—ousting previous Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had reigned as Israel’s premier for 12 years until 2018, when the Knesset dissolved and went to elections. The Jewish state then entered a period of four indecisive elections in two years, leaving the nation without a functioning government until Bennett and Lapid negotiated a diverse majority coalition last year, ending the political stalemate.

But the coalition was built on a slim majority, and after several defections over the past few months, the majority came crumbling down—meaning Israelis will be returning to the all-too-familiar ballot boxes on October 25, according to Israeli media.

Netanyahu, the current opposition leader, issued a statement celebrating the end of what he deemed the “worst government in Israeli history.”

Netanyahu, confident that he will return to power after the election, said that his Likud Party will put together a “wide, national government led by Likud. A government that will look after you, all the citizens of Israel, without exception.”

The former prime minister went on to say that his government will continue “widening the circle of peace, as we have done in the past,” referring to the landmark 2020 Abraham Accords. Under Netanyahu’s reign as prime minister, Israel signed historic peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, followed by Morocco and Sudan.

In the meantime, Lapid will serve as interim leader and for now is slated to be the one to welcome US President Joe Biden in his visit to Israel next month.

Posted on June 23, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 21, 2022)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach / Government Press Office (Israel)/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

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