נדב איל אייל
Nadav Eyal
Photo: Avigail Uzi
Ghaida Rinawie-Zoabi, Nir Orbach, Idit Silman

Israel's terror wave knocked government over, rebel MKs produced final blow

Opinion: Dissolution of Knesset was a matter of time from the moment the coalition lost its majority; now, Netanyahu will attempt to retake the premier chair, but Lapid will not be an easy opponent to defeat

Nadav Eyal |
Published: 06.21.22, 23:26
The verbose eulogies and analysis on how this government fell will not hide the obvious - this coalition was doomed from the start.
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  • The dissolution became imminent from the moment the coalition lost its majority in the Knesset, with the retirement of coalition whip Idit Silman. She was followed by Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie-Zoabi who resigned without prior notice, and then backpedaled on her decision, as well as the ultimatum placed by MK Nir Orbach of the Yamina party, who said he will not vote with the coalition until the controversial emergency regulations of the West Bank bill are extended.
    4 View gallery
    עידית סילמן, ניר אורבך, ג'ידא רינאווי זועבי
    עידית סילמן, ניר אורבך, ג'ידא רינאווי זועבי
    Ghaida Rinawie-Zoabi, Nir Orbach, Idit Silman
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Amit Shabi)
    In order to establish this government, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had to turn his back on at least half of his voters who felt betrayed and deceived. Rouge Yamina members Amichai Chikli, Silman, and Orbach's decision to turn their backs on Bennett's party was a predictable return to the familiar embrace of the right-wing. The same Right that witnessed Bennett promise on national TV to never make Foreign Minister Yair Lapid a premier.
    On Monday, Bennett announced Lapid will take the premier seat with his blessing and with all the help he can provide the Yesh Atid chief. In their joint announcement, during which the lights in the room went out for a few seconds, giving the whole event a more ominous touch - Bennett's facial expression was as exciting as the wooden wall behind him.
    Bennett thanked a lot of people during his speech, but the shortest one was addressed to his Yamina party because he knew very well that he had no allies left within his faction - so he had no one to thank.
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    נפתלי בנט  בהצהרות לתקשורת
    נפתלי בנט  בהצהרות לתקשורת
    Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett during Monday's press conference
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    His fundamental calculation on the formation of the government was wrong. Bennett thought that by becoming a prime minister he would draw more voters and make him a powerful player in the political arena. When that strategy failed, Bennett could have make a shift to the center-left. However, he chose not to.
    Instead, he focused on becoming some sort of CEO of the Knesset - a thing he did well, according to many officials. Thus, if he decides to be a part of the next government - which make estimate he won't - he will find quite a lot of supporters, they just won't be from the Right.
    The first signs of an impending doom came at the onset of the recent terror wave that claimed the lives of 19 Israelis. At the end of the day, this coalition was established under the assumption that there will be cooperation between MKs and parties who have completely different points of view on the Middle East, the State of Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian relations.
    The coalition believed they could set aside the big differences and focus on other things: state budget, transportation, proper government work, and especially keeping Benjamin Netanyahu a.
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    Naftali Bennett hands over the keys of the government to Lapid
    Naftali Bennett hands over the keys of the government to Lapid
    Naftali Bennett hands over the keys of the government to Lapid while Netanyahu looks on
    (Photo: Guy Morad)
    But, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict haunts every government that denies its existence. Another year with no major security events, perhaps, would have allowed a more nuanced look at our reality - but it was not to be.
    The establishment of this government, according to various studies, has already resulted in some fundamental changes in the approach of right-wing voters - primarily their views on coalition partnerships with Arabs. But, the relatively calm start of the year ended with a terror wave, which means a likely shift to the Right in the next elections.
    The outgoing premier said on Monday that Israel comes first, and the dissolution of the Knesset was the right thing for the country. According to coalition officials, not only Orbach was going to vote against all government decisions in protest over the failure to pass the West Bank bill - but other rebel MKs as well. In other words, Bennett didn't fall on his sword for the bill, he chose to do so after it was placed on his neck. And yet, he did it in an honorable, respectful way, according to the agreement he signed with Lapid.
    It is worth emphasizing the final point, an honorable respectful way is exactly what was missing the last time a rotation agreement was signed - between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Netanyahu did all in his power to prevent it and eventually led the country to an election campaign which he lost.
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    ישבות סיעה
    ישבות סיעה
    Benny Gantz, Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    While the current government lasted only a year, it was able to successfully pass more reforms than the past two governments combined. Bennett and Lapid worked in close partnership with ministers, thus fewer agreements leaked out to the media. Experts were impressed that there was a genuine attempt to make truly meaningful progress.
    This election campaign will again be revolved around Netanyahu, the true winner of Monday's announcement. Despite his advanced age and ongoing corruption trial, he fought a glorious battle as opposition leader, proving once again that the fighting spirit is pumping some young blood in him. Netanyahu apparently has hopes for at least 40 mandates in the upcoming vote. Which will allow him to rule unchallenged and get his vengeance against his political adversaries.
    Lapid, however, the undisputed leader of the center-left bloc, will attempt to cleverly maneuver the arena to steal some right-wing votes. A lot is dependent on the Arab voters, who at this point show indifference to political issues, which may turn in favor of Netanyahu, providing him a stable government. However, if the sector decides to take action, a strong center bloc will be created once again.
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