Bennett Refuses to Give Up after Losing Knesset Majority

On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed that they would continue persevering, even after the resignation of a lawmaker from the coalition resulted in the government becoming a minority in the Knesset. On Thursday, the announcement of MK GhaidaRinawieZoabiof the Meretz party, to leave the coalition came as a shock. It occurred only weeks after the former whip of the coalition who belonged to Bennett’s Yamina party had also defected to the opposition. But, it should be noted that despite her defection, the Meretz lawmaker did not clarify whether she would oppose the government.

As a matter of fact, reports indicate that there has been significant progress made in terms of reconciliation with the coalition. Bennett opened the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday with the mention of the ‘upheavals’ that the coalition is dealing with. However, he said that it seems the government has hit the right note because members of both the left and right flanks appear to be disgruntled. He stated that this shows the government is doing well in the middle, which is the whole purpose of compromising. He added that the government was good for Israel and they were not going to give up.

According to the premier, they have focused more on taking action instead of dealing with ideological disputes. He added that members of the coalition need to think about the good of the country, rather than focusing on their sectoral interests. He stated that it was not possible for anyone to be 100% content because this is meant to be group work. He went on to say that the government could succeed in a crisis if they all displayed goodwill. The comments from the premier came just before Wednesday when the opposition could put forward a vote for dissolving the Knesset and holding new elections in Israel.

As for RinawieZoabi, she has not disclosed how she is going to vote and has specifically mentioned that she is open to cooperating with the coalition because the alternative is much worse. Her resignation means that the coalition is left with only 59 MKs in the Knesset. But, even though the first reading of a bill to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections requires a simple majority, the next three readings would need a full 61-MK majority and it remains to be seen if the opposition could actually muster it up.

Speaking on Sunday, Bennett also criticized the Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu for expressing their opposition against a bill for the tuition of IDF soldiers. The bill is scheduled for a vote on Monday and the coalition does not have the votes for getting the measure approved on their own. He stated that if the members of the Likud party vote against it, the bill will not be approved and scholarships will not be issued to the soldiers. He said that a number of them will not be able to study at all, while those who have started because they were depending on this money would have to stop.

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