Government crisis in Israel: minority coalition partners

Status: 05/19/2022 4:18 p.m.

Setback of the eight-party Israeli government: another MP announced that she was leaving the coalition. She cited police actions against the Arab population as the reason.

A lawmaker from the left-liberal Meretz party surprisingly announced that she was leaving the eight-party coalition. This means that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government only has a minority of 59 of the 120 seats in parliament. The opposition, led by ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could theoretically lead to a dissolution of parliament and new elections.

“I cannot continue to support the existence of such a coalition which shamefully harasses the society from which I come,” wrote Arab MP Ghaida Rinawi Suabi.

Picture: photo alliance / AA

Police action as grounds for resignation

Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi is an Israeli Arab. She hoped political cooperation between Jews and Arabs would lead to more equality and respect, the politician wrote. However, coalition leaders have taken strong, right-wing positions. Among other things, the lawmaker justified her move by the actions of the Israeli police during the recent clashes on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

In her resignation letter, she was also shocked by police violence at the funeral of an Al-Jazeera television journalist killed in Jerusalem on Friday. “I cannot continue to support the existence of such a coalition which shamefully harasses the society from which I come,” wrote the Arab MP.

Bennett’s eight-party coalition lost its slim majority in the Knesset last month after a member of the ruling Jamina party resigned. She survived two votes of no confidence.

Possible dissolution of Parliament

The opposition could present a law dissolving parliament next Wednesday. If unsuccessful, however, the advance would be blocked for six months. Even if successful, three more readings would be needed, for which the opposition needs the votes of at least 61 of the 120 MPs.

The Bennett government was sworn in mid-June last year. The long political crisis in Israel, with four elections in two years, is therefore over for the time being. The coalition was supported by a total of eight right-left parties – including, for the first time, an Arab party. The political differences between the parties are enormous. The government was largely united by the rejection of former Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The Arab Raam Party temporarily suspended its membership in the coalition last month due to clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians on the Temple Mount.

MPs quit coalition: Israeli government plunges even deeper into crisis

Benjamin Hammer, ARD Tel Aviv, 19.5.2022 15:14

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