Bennett’s Coalition Loses 2 Crucial Votes – Election on the Horizon

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, during the plenum session and a vote on the state budget in the assembly hall of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Nov 3, 2021. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS
By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 7 June, 2022

Jerusalem, 7 June, 2022 (TPS) — The coalition, led by Naftali Bennett, lost two crucial votes at the Knesset’s plenum on Monday night, pushing it toward its collapse and elections in Israel.

A bill to renew emergency regulations extending Israeli law in Judea and Samaria was rejected in its first reading. Originally enacted in 1967 and renewed every five years for the past 55 years, it applys Israeli law to Judea and Samaria.

52 Members of Knesset supported the proposal, and 58 opposed it, including Arab MKs Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi and Mazen Ghanaim of the coalition. Members of the left-wing Meretz party and members of the Islamist Ra’am party left the plenum ahead of the vote, despite being members of the coalition.

Ahead of the vote, Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar stated that “a coalition member who does not support such a fundamental law is actively working for its dissolution. In a coalition it is not only possible to receive, there is also responsibility. This is not the way to run a country.”

He stated that the failure to pass this bill was a cause to end the partnership with the Arab parties, who voted against it.  Likewise, MK Nir Orbach, of Bennett’s Yemina party, lashed out against the Arab MKs after the vote and declared that the “experiment” to maintain a shared coalition with the Arabs “has failed.”

Punishments by the coalition against the Arab MKs are expected, which will lead to counteractions and more animosity among the coalition members.

In the second vote to reinstate MK Matan Kahana as minister of Religious Services, the coalition lost in a 55-55 vote.

After the second defeat, MK Moshe Abutbul of the opposition took out a bag and shouted to the coalition – “start packing.”

The coalition is now waiting to see if Sa’ar will carry through with his declaration to dissolve the coalition.

Bennett, who has been in power for less than a year, has been facing repeated upheavals within his staff, party, and coalition, and most analysts estimate that it’s only a question of time before his government falls.

Israeli political pundit Yuval Segev wrote that the coalition is “in its death convulsions. If there was anything impressive about its survival efforts at the political level until recently, it lost that too. Mainly the fact that the incident seemed untidy and on the verge of embarrassing. A desperate attempt to stay with its head above water.”

Mati Tochfeld wrote that the government “finally lost the majority in the Knesset. This is a dysfunctional government, run by people who have explained that the biggest disaster is a dysfunctional government. The most decent thing right now is coordinating a date for an election or forming another government.”

Moran Azulai noted that “no matter how much the left-wing parties in the coalition continue to say it will not dismantle the government. In effect, Lapid’s left bloc yesterday showed a breakup.”

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