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Israel’s parliamentary coalition chairman resigns, opening door to new elections and Bibi Netanyahu’s return

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Idit Silman, a member of Israel’s Knesset and chairwoman of the current ruling coalition, resigned her coalition leadership role on Wednesday, throwing the Jewish state’s parliament into chaos and emboldening former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .

Israel’s Knesset follows a parliamentary system, so the executive branch of government emerges from the majority party – or from a coalition of parties that constitute a majority. The current ruling coalition only enjoyed a one-seat majority in the Knesset, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s conservative Yamina party teaming up with the liberal Yesh Atid party, led by alternate prime minister Yair Lapid. This coalition ousted the previous coalition, led by Netanyahu’s Likud party, which still controls a plurality of Knesset seats.

Silman’s resignation threatens to rob the coalition of its majority, leading to snap elections and opening the door to Netanyahu’s return.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett visit an Israeli army base in the Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, Sunday, November 24, 2019. (Atef Safadi/ Pool via AP)
(Atef Safadi/Pool via AP)

Silman said she chose to quit because she “couldn’t take it anymore,” adding that she could not continue to harm the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported. . Silman may have been referring to a disagreement over allowing chametz — foods containing leavening agents — in hospitals during Passover.


In her resignation letter to Bennett, Silman said she had “joined the current coalition out of a genuine desire to produce unity and closeness based on the common good that unites us as a people and as a State”. Yet she added that now her core values ​​are “inconsistent with current reality.”

She said she was “attentive to the voices from outside and to the sincere protest of the electorate whose support enabled us to win and with whose votes we were elected”.

Israel’s parliamentary coalition chairman resigns, opening door to new elections and Bibi Netanyahu’s return

Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett raises his hand during a Knesset session in Jerusalem on Sunday, June 13, 2021.
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

“Time to recalibrate our route,” Silman wrote. “Try to establish a national, Jewish and Zionist government. Let us join hands and realize the values ​​for which we were elected.”

Anna Ravya Barsky, Maariv journalist reported that several senior members of the coalition had been aware of Silman’s decision for at least a week, but reports suggest that Bennett did not know in advance. He reportedly canceled the schedule he had planned for the day to deal with the fallout from his resignation.


Labor MP Gilad Kariv told radio station 103FM that he “very much hopes that eventually Idit Silman will take her over, she is the chairperson of the coalition. This decision can only lead to one outcome and it is a general result”. The last thing Israeli society needs right now is another election campaign.

Israel’s parliamentary coalition chairman resigns, opening door to new elections and Bibi Netanyahu’s return

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, March 3. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)
(AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)

Netanyahu congratulated Silman on her decision, thanking her “on behalf of many people in Israel who have waited for this moment.”

“I call on all those who were elected with the votes of the nationalist bloc to join Idit and return home, you will be received with all due respect and with open arms,” he concluded. .

Likud leader Yariv Levin praised Silman, praising her for “saving the State of Israel from a dangerous and unprecedented process of profound damage to the Jewish character of the state and the foundations of its existence.” .

Likud party officials said Silman was not the only coalition member to consider quitting, and they expressed hope that others would follow his example.


One more defection will cause an election.

This political crisis follows a two-year crisis from April 2019 to March 2021 during which Israel held four snap Knesset elections: in April 2019, September 2019, March 2020 and March 2021.

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