The Israeli government received a blow on Wednesday when coalition chair Idit Silman resigned, stripping the government of its majority.
“The key values of my worldview are incompatible with current reality,” she wrote in a letter sent to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “I can no longer bear the damage to the values that are our essence and our right.”
She called for the formation of a right-wing government.
The letter did not specifically refer to government policies, but Silman recently voiced his opposition to plans to liberalize certain prayer rules at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as well as instructions allowing people to bring chametz – food that is not kosher for Passover. – in hospitals during the next Jewish holiday.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister, from which the Yamina party originated, declined to comment.
In contrast, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to congratulate Silman on his decision. In one tweeted videohe said, “I call on everyone who was chosen with the votes of the [right-wing and religious] national camp to join the Idit and return home.
What will happen next was not immediately clear. Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, said the government would only fall if there was majority support for dissolving the Knesset – which is on recess until May 8 – or if there was a majority in parliament in favor of an alternative to the current coalition.
“No way is guaranteed,” he told CNN, noting that the coalition still holds 60 of the 120 Knesset seats. Netanyahu’s bloc holds just 54.
There is “zero” chance, Plesner said, that the Joint List — a majority Arab party that holds six seats and is not part of any bloc — will support Netanyahu. “What we can be sure of is that the coalition and the country are back in crisis mode,” he said. “But how this crisis will unfold is unclear.”
The current coalition government was formed on June 13, 2021, after four elections were held in less than two years. It comprises eight parties, spanning the spectrum of ideologies – from the leftist Meretz party, to New Hope and Yamina on the right. For the first time, it also includes an Arab party, the Joint List.
Under the terms of the coalition agreement, the leader of the government’s largest party, current Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, is expected to succeed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in August 2023.