Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

Israel headed for elections as Bennett, Lapid announce plan to dissolve Knesset

Coalition chiefs concede efforts to salvage government have failed; fresh elections to be held on either October 25 or November 1; Lapid to assume role of interim prime minister

Ynet |
Updated: 06.20.22, 19:50
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday announced their intention to introduce a bill that would dissolve the Knesset, triggering Israel's fifth snap election in just three years.
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  • The two leaders of the coalition conceded that their efforts to salvage the government have failed.
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    בנט ולפיד
    בנט ולפיד
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Moti Kimchi)
    The elections will be held on either October 25 or November 1. Under a power-sharing deal with Bennett, Lapid will assume the role of interim prime minister at least until a new government is formed.
    The two will give a joint statement at 8pm.
    Although the statement from the two stated that they had made the decision together, sources told Ynet that Bennett was the one who decided to call it quits in a last-ditch attempt to extend the emergency regulations that provide legal protections to Jewish West Bank settlers.
    Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War but has never officially annexed the territory. Emergency regulations in place for decades apply parts of Israeli law to Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
    If they are not renewed, that legal system will be thrown into question. It could also change the legal status of the 500,000 settlers living there.
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    An Israeli flag is painted on the surrounding wall of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Migdalim near the Palestinian town of Nablus
    An Israeli flag is painted on the surrounding wall of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Migdalim near the Palestinian town of Nablus
    An Israeli flag is painted on a wall in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Migdalim near the Palestinian city of Nablus
    (Photo: AP)
    An attempt to extend the regulations was defeated in a Knesset vote earlier this month after Arab coalition members broke party discipline and joined the opposition in voting against the bill.
    As a result, MK Nir Orbach of Bennett's nationalist Yamina party announced last week he was boycotting the coalition until the regulations are extended.
    Other attempts to pass a bill to extend these regulations have failed to muster a majority in the Knesset after several Arab and left-wing coalition members said they will not support the legislation.
    The dissolution of the Knesset will now extend the emergency regulations automatically by at least several more months.
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    בנימין נתניהו בישיבת הסיעה
    בנימין נתניהו בישיבת הסיעה
    Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    This brings an end to the fragile governing alliance that consists of nationalist, centrist, left-wing and Arab parties and is held by little more than shared disdain for former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett unseated Israel's longest-serving premier in June of last year after 12 years in power.
    Shortly after the announcement, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar took to Twitter to pin the blame for the collapse of the government on the "irresponsibility of several lawmakers" and stated that his goal in the upcoming polls is to prevent Netanyahu from retaking the reins of power.
    Netanyahu, who now acts as the leader of the opposition, welcomed his political rivals' decision to dissolve the Knesset and promised to form a "broad, nationalist government" that would "bring national pride back to the citizens of Israel."
    "This is great news for the people of Israel. After a determined struggle of the opposition in the Knesset and great suffering of the Israeli public, it is clear to everyone that the worst government in the history of the country has run its course," he said in a recorded statement.
    "A government that was relied on terrorist supporters, that abandoned the personal security of Israeli citizens, that raised the cost of living to levels we did not know before, that levied unnecessary taxes, that endangered the Jewish character of our country. This government is going home."
    First published: 19:05, 06.20.22
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