August 19, 2022

The Israeli parliament has voted to dissolve, triggering the fifth election in four years

On Friday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will officially take over as caretaker Prime Minister under the terms of a coalition agreement reached between last year’s outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid. The formal inauguration will not take place as Lapit, a former journalist and star TV presenter, is a caretaker prime minister.

Thursday’s 92-0 vote finally ends Bennett’s slow move to become prime minister – one of the shortest in Israeli history – and paves the way for former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return to power.

When the referendum was over, Lobid and Bennett wrapped their arms around each other, hugged and exchanged seats, and Lobid became prime minister.

As they were leaving the Knesset site, Bennett accidentally picked up Lobit’s cell phone. “My brother,” Lapid said, “you picked up my phone.” Bennett replied, “My brother, you took my work.”

New elections will be held on November 1 – the fifth round of voting for Israelis in four years. A recent poll shows that former Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party is on track to win more seats, but polls show that his right – wing coalition should have enough seats to win a parliamentary majority and form a ruling government. .

Speaking in parliament before the dissolution vote, Netanyahu vowed to return to power.

“We are the only alternative: a strong national government, stable and responsible. A government that will restore national respect to the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The night before the dissolution, Bennett announced that he was stepping down from politics and would not run for office again.

“I will remain a loyal soldier of this country, having served all my life as a soldier, officer, minister, and prime minister. The nation of Israel is the love of my life. It is my destiny to serve her,” Bennett said. In his speech to the country. “Now it’s time for me to step back a little. Look at things from the outside.”

The coalition government had been faltering for weeks. But Bennett and Lobit announced last week that they wanted to dissolve their own government and hand over power to Lobid.

“Over the past few weeks, we have done everything we can to save this government. In our view, its existence has continued to be in the national interest,” Bennett said while standing with Lobit earlier this month.

“Trust me, we looked under every rock. We did not do this for ourselves, but for our beautiful country, for the citizens of Israel,” Bennett added.

The Bennett-Labid government took office in June last year, ending Netanyahu’s 12-year term as prime minister.

With no less than eight political parties, the coalition extends across the political spectrum, including for the first time an Arab party led by Mansour Abbas.

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In May 2020, it united in its desire to prevent Netanyahu, who had already begun a corruption investigation, from continuing in power, with various coalition partners agreeing to set aside their significant differences.

Despite its significant domestic and diplomatic achievements, it was domestic politics that eventually toppled the coalition.

The past few weeks have seen many coalition members exit, or threaten to leave.

The political stalemate came to a head earlier this month when the Knesset failed to hold a referendum on the application of Israeli criminal and civil law to Israelis in the occupied West Bank.

Among other things, this regulation, which is renewed every five years, provides the same legal treatment for Israeli settlers in Palestinian territories within Israeli borders, and is a promising article for right-wing members of the coalition. Including Prime Minister Bennett.

But two members of the coalition refused to support the bill, saying it had not been passed.

Since parliament was dissolved before the law expired on July 1, the regulation will remain in place until a new government is formed, at which point it will go to the polls again.

Andrew Carey contributed to this report.