Israel Dissolves Parliament in Preparation of April 9 Election
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can still become the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, exceeding the longevity of founding PM David Ben Gurion. But following the dissolution of the current parliament and the setting of April 9 for general elections, Netanyahu’s party will need to emerge as the top seat-getter in the 120-seat “Knesset,” will have to still be the party’s leader and following the apparent victory be the one the president believes to be most capable of forming a coalition government. All this, despite multiple corruption investigations pending and the general belief that he will face voters under the cloud of indictment(s). Nevertheless, Netanyahu appears to be the odds-on favorite to remain in office.
New parties typically spring up before elections and it will be no different this time around. What is a bit novel is that the new party will be a break-away from the party the new party leader already leads. Naftali Bennett, the current education minister who heads the Jewish Home party, is bolting his own party to form the New Right. Along with him, Bennett will be taking the old party’s ostensible second-in-command, Ayelet Shaked, who serves as justice minister in the Netanyahu coalition. What’s different? Bennett says that while the former party is distinctly religious Zionist, New Right will focus on political rather than religious affiliations, uniting religious and secular right wingers.