Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid

Lapid to become prime minister as Knesset dissolves

Legislature dissolved after 92-0 vote after days-long holdup; Bennett hands premiership to his coalition partner who stands to head caretaker government; critical infrastructure bill and amendment for Israel to join U.S. Visa Waiver Program blocked

Moran Azulay |
Published: 06.30.22, 11:29
Yair Lapid will step into the position of prime minister at midnight Friday to head a caretaker government after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself Thursday morning.
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  • Lapid will be the 14th person to hold that office, taking over from Naftali Bennett, Israel's shortest-serving prime minister with a little over a year at the helm of the government. A snap election, Israel's fifth in just over three years, is scheduled for November 1.
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    נפתלי בנט ויאיר לפיד
    נפתלי בנט ויאיר לפיד
    Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Legislators allowed the protracted vote to proceed after days of political squabbling. The motion to dissolve the legislature passed with 92 lawmakers in favor, and none against.
    Yisrael Beitenu and Labor boycotted the vote in protest after the right-wing bloc blocked a critical infrastructure bill. "Small politics prevented the bill from passing," Labor leader Merav Michaeli said.
    Another bill that was not advanced was an amendment that would have allowed Israel to inform American authorities of U.S.-bound individuals who were involved in security violations.
    Without the amendment, Israel cannot comply with necessary obligations that would allow it to be included in Washington's Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israeli nationals to travel to the U.S. without a tourist visa.
    On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides appealed to members of the opposition, primarily Likud, to allow the bill to pass, but his appeals remained unanswered.
    Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the plenum that the outgoing government failed in the short term and brought about a deterioration in the personal safety of Israelis and diminished national pride.
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    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Knesset as it passes bill to dissolve on Thursday
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Netanyahu slammed the government for partnering with the Islamist Ra'am party in their coalition. Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas said the Likud leader had previously shown willingness to include the Arab party in a coalition under his leadership when he attempted to form a government after the last elections.
    Abbas disrupted Netanyahu during his speech when he said his government would not join Ra'am in a coalition.
    The opposition leader then turned to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy and said Abbas should be removed from the plenum.
    Associated Press contributed to this report.
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