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Bennett’s Coalition Chairwoman Defects to Opposition, Threatening To Bring Down Israeli Government

Bennett’s Coalition Chairwoman Defects to Opposition, Threatening To Bring Down Israeli Government

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lost his majority in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Wednesday when a member of his right-wing Yamina party resigned from the coalition. Knesset Member Idit Silman, who held the position of coalition chairwoman, said she was leaving over ideological differences with the government. “We tried, but it’s time to recalculate the route and try to form a Jewish and Zionist government,” Silman wrote in a resignation letter sent to Bennett, which was released by Israel’s Channel 12. There is no immediate threat to Bennett’s government; the opposition, which after Silman’s resignation includes 60 members of Knesset, needs the support of 61 MKs to win a vote of no-confidence that would bring down the government. The Knesset is currently in spring recess, so a vote of no-confidence cannot be held until it is back in session in another five weeks. The opposition is looking for another coalition MK willing to defect to the opposition. But even if it finds one, it will need the votes of all MKs in the Joint List, a political alliance of Arab-majority parties that may not be eager to cooperate in bringing Benjamin Netanyahu back into power as head of a coalition that includes the far right. Meanwhile, Bennett has met with Yamina MK Nir Orbach and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and will meet with all members of Yamina, as well as the heads of other parties in the coalition, in an attempt to shore up support for the government and prevent further defections.

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