After months of discontent among the Israel public regarding the current political leadership, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid have announced they will hold new elections in the fall, possibly paving the way for a return by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Tonight, as the transition period begins, Lapid will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister, just in time for him to greet President Biden when he visits Israel in mid-July.
🔴 BREAKING: Israeli government to present motion to disband Knesset next week; Foreign Minister @YairLapid to become transitional prime minister.
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) June 20, 2022
Bennett is a religious Jew; Lapid is aggressively secular.
Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir had hopes of the new government reflecting a more right-wing position, as he stated, “Hopefully a new dawn will rise on the State of Israel. The people need a full-fledged right-wing government that will repair the damage made by the [Bennett-Lapid coalition] and restore security to the streets of Israel. God willing now it’s the Right’s turn to be victorious,” Israel National News reported.
The Bennett-Lapid coalition, which has been hanging by a thread as it is comprised of 60 members of the 120-member Knesset, is comprised of eight parties, with the United Arab List, headed by Mansour Abbas, as one of them. The coalition was the first in Israel history to include an Arab party.
The United Arab List wants a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In early April Bennett wound up in trouble after Yamina MK Idit Silman announced she was resigning from the government coalition. Bennett’s government lost its 61-seat Knesset majority as a result, putting his government in a tie with the opposition.
The Daily Wire noted at the time:
According to the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, if the Bennett government is unable to restore its majority, the two most likely outcomes are either elections or the formation of a new government within the Knesset. If the Knesset is dissolved and new elections are called, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid would immediately replace Naftali Bennet and become interim Prime Minister until a new government is formed, according to the coalition agreement.
Alternatively, the opposition could cobble together a coalition of at least 61 Knesset within the current Knesset, avoiding handing the premiership to Lapid. Given that the Arab Joint List would not support the formation of a right-wing administration, it would need to pull away seven members of the current coalition. Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s eight-seat Blue and White party, as well as right-wing components of the present coalition, are potential options for joining with Likud and the other right-wing parties, although it is unclear whether Bibi Netanyahu would become Prime Minister in such an agreement.
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