Fragile Israeli Government Coalition Loses Majority
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s shaky and motley Israeli government coalition has lost its majority in parliament. A Bennett party member, Idit Silman, has withdrawn her support for the party and government. Bennett is now left with 60 of the 120 parliamentary seats.
It is still a miracle, according to Israeli media, that the government of radical right-wing nationalists, centre parties, left-wing parties and Arabs has lasted almost ten months without getting into a fight. The loss of the majority does not immediately mean that Bennett can no longer rule. But there may be elections again relatively soon. The chance that the opposition led by ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can now form a majority is considered extremely small.
Fragmented Israeli politics is responsible for many government crises, and Israelis have therefore gone to the polls four times since April 2019 to elect a new parliament. After the last ballot last year, the colourful coalition came about with a majority of one seat. It was agreed that Bennett would be Prime Minister for the first two years and current Treasury Secretary Yair Lapid for the last two years.
That Silman turned his back on the government was not a total surprise. The young politician comes from an ultra-Orthodox religious nationalist community that has often expressed disgust at her support in parliament for “an anti-Jewish government”. Her husband Shmulik has also felt so bad that he would have asked Netanyahu if his wife could not get a ministerial position in a new Netanyahu government if she moved to Netanyahu’s camp.