Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened what is likely his last Cabinet meeting as premier on Sunday, with parliament expected to dissolve itself this week, triggering new elections in the fall.
Bennett’s decision to head to elections puts an end to an ambitious political project that united eight ideologically disparate parties that chose to put aside their differences to oust former leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the current opposition leader, who now has an opening to return to lead the country.
The elections, the fifth the country has held in three years, deepen an unprecedented political crisis in Israel.
At the meeting, Bennett listed a series of accomplishments under his year-old government and thanked his coalition partners, which included dovish parties that support Palestinian statehood, nationalist ones who don’t, and for the first time in Israeli history, an Arab political faction.
“It was an excellent government that relied, yes, on a complicated coalition. And here in this room there is a group of people that knew how to put aside ideological disagreements, to rise above, and to work for the state of Israel,” he said.
As part of the power-sharing agreement that brought Bennett to power, he is set to hand over the premiership to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, a centrist former broadcaster, once parliament is dissolved. Elections are expected around the end of October and polls show Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to garner the most seats.
But as in most rounds of voting during the current political turmoil, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has been unable to muster a majority to form a coalition government, with some of his traditional allies refusing to join him. That could further extend the crisis after the upcoming vote.
While Bennett’s government helped steady the economy and navigated the last year of the coronavirus pandemic, it was beset by disagreements over the very issues it sought to avoid, particularly Israel’s 55-year occupation of the West Bank. Bennett said he decided to put an end to his political experiment because the government was unable to renew regulations that enshrine separate legal systems for Jewish settlers in the territory and Palestinians. |
Bennett’s own nationalist faction, Yamina, was dogged by defectors, legislators who said the prime minister, a former settler leader, had veered too much toward the center in his bid to keep the coalition intact.
Bennett, who entered politics a decade ago, hasn’t said whether he’ll run in the upcoming elections.
Israeli negotiators meet US envoy on maritime dispute with LebanonIsraeli negotiators met with a US mediator in an effort to resolve a maritime border dispute with Lebanon, Israel’s Energy Ministry said on ... Middle East
Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: SourcesA Palestinian teenager died from his wounds hours after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said ... Middle East
Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: UN reviewThe United Nations said Friday that its findings showed that the shot that killed TV journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 was fired by Israeli ... Middle East
US envoy to combat antisemitism to make first trip to Saudi Arabia, UAE, IsraelThe State Department said Deborah Lipstadt would look to build on “the profoundly important” Abraham Accords to advance religious tolerance, improve relations in the region, and counter misunderstanding and distrust. Middle East
Turkey, Israel working on restore ties to ambassador level: MinisterTurkey and Israel have begun work restoring their mutual diplomatic representation to ambassador level, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said ... Middle East
Ukraine’s president Zelenskyy criticizes Israel over refusal to sanction RussiaUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday intensified his criticism of Israel’s refusal to sanction Russia, during an address by the Jewish ... World News
Turkey busts Iranian cell reportedly targeting Israeli touristsTurkey has detained eight people allegedly working for an Iranian intelligence cell that planned to assassinate Israeli tourists in Istanbul, local ... Middle East
Syria airport hit by Israeli airstrike to reopen on June 23: MinistryDamascus airport is due to reopen on Thursday, almost two weeks after Israeli strikes rendered its runways unusable, the Syrian transport ministry ... Middle East
Israeli Knesset votes to dissolve in step towards snap electionIsrael moved closer on Wednesday to its fifth election in less than four years after lawmakers gave an initial nod to dissolve parliament, with a ... Middle East