Lapid Says Rebel Lawmakers will ‘Pay a Price’
On Friday, the Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned the various rebel MKs in the coalition that they would pay a price for endangering the current government. Lapid posted on Facebook that the lawmakers should fight for the government and hold onto it. He added that they should consider themselves on a winning team and not make it lose to itself. The fragile coalition has been near a collapse since April when it lost its majority. The Foreign Minister said that if this government collapses, it would show that incitement and venom are behind the politics that work and he does not want to believe this.
The Coalition’s Troubles
The coalition that makes up the current Israeli government lost its majority in the Knesset after former whip Idit Silman chose to part ways. Since then, it has been dealing with one crisis after the other. In the latest blow, the coalition was unable to pass a legislation for the West Bank settlers that has been in place in Israel for a long time. The bill did not receive the support of some Arab members who are part of the coalition.
Now, it is believed that MK Nir Orbach is the most recent threat to the coalition. There is a great deal of speculation that he could be the latest one to defect in the coalition. There have been persistent reports that the Yamina MK is in negotiations with Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition for potentially joining his party and forming another government. However, sources close to the lawmaker have disclosed that he is considering the possibility.
On Friday, media reports said that Orbach had given an ultimatum to Naftali Bennett for solving the problems with other MKs in the Ra’am and Mertz party in a week, or he would call for a vote of no confidence. In recent months, he has been deemed as a flight risk since another Yamina lawmaker has already defected.
Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi is the newest rebel from the coalition, who voted against the West Bank bill and is under pressure from the Meretz party to resign from the Knesset. She had considered the possibility, but has now become angry and has no intention of quitting.
Netanyahu Gaining Popularity
On Friday, results of two polls showed that if elections were held, the opposition bloc led by Benjamin Netanyahu would easily be able to win 60 seats out of the 120-seat Knesset. The survey showed that 34 seats would be claimed by the Likud party, 21 by Yesh Atid, 11 by Religious Zionism, 8 by Shas, 8 by Blue and White, 7 by Joint List, 7 by United Torah Judaism, 6 by Labor, 5 by Yamina, 5 by Yisrael Beytenu, 4 by New Hope and 4 by Ra’am. Meretz did not clear the electoral threshold.
In the second survey, it was the Islamist Ra’am party that did not clear the electoral threshold. But, the count remained similar in case of other parties, which means the coalition is really at risk.