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Netanyahu Upsets Left and Right With Mangled Vote

The recently formed Israeli government came to the brink of collapse Wednesday after a controversial bill was introduced by the opposition and put to a vote on the floor of parliament. The proposal to launch a parliamentary investigation into Israel’s Supreme Court judges and their possible conflicts of interest was put to a vote by the right-wing Yamina party, which was left out of the coalition formed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a power-sharing agreement that will see Netanyahu, the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, step aside after 18-months for newbie Benny Gantz – a former military chief-of-staff with no political experience. While initially inclined to vote down the proposal in order not to upset his alternative government partners of Gantz’s Blue and White party, Netanyahu was forced to change course hours before the vote after encountering demands to pass the bill from his Likud party and his political base. Then, minutes before the vote itself, the prime minister had to make another U-turn when Blue and White made it clear that it would dismantle the government and call for new elections if the bill was passed. Eventually, several Likud members, including Netanyahu, absented themselves from the vote, allowing it to die on the floor and drawing the wrath of their constituents. Still, Blue and White lawmakers were livid at Netanyahu’s conduct, claiming it was an obvious breach of their coalition agreement and promising to retaliate in kind by proposing a bill he is known to oppose.