Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein summoned the various faction heads for a discussion Wednesday morning at 10am to determine a date for general elections for the 20th Knesset.
In the afternoon hours, there will be a preliminary reading of the bill to disband the Knesset, with only the remaining members of the coalition – Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Bayit Yehudi – expected to support the legislation.
The bill's passage would mark the official end of the third Netanyahu government, which lasted slightly more than a year and a half. As of Tuesday night, officials at the Prime Minister's Office discussed three potential dates for the election: 10th, 17th, or 24th of March.
The haredi factions are expected to support elections on March 24 or 31, at the beginning of the month of Nissan, when yeshiva students are on break ahead of Passover. Such timing would allow for the large swaths of haredi youth to volunteer at election headquarters, specifically on phone banks, and to drive voters to the polls.
Netanyahu announced new elections on Tuesday evening after firing two key ministers in his government - Yesh Atid leader Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Hatnua leader Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
The prime minister said he will call for the dissolution of the Knesset as soon as possible in order to go to elections and "receive a clear mandate from the people to lead Israel."
"In recent weeks, including the last 24 hours, Ministers Lapid and Livni harshly attacked the government under my leadership. I won't tolerate any more opposition within the government, I won't tolerate ministers attacking from within the government the government's policies and its leader," Netanyahu said in a statement released shortly after the announcement.
In response to Netanyahu's decision to fire Lapid, the four other Yesh Atid ministers – Shai Piron, Yael German, Meir Cohen, and Yaakov Peri – announced their resignation from the government.
Former Shin Bet chief Yaakov Peri attacked the sitting prime minister for his statements, calling the speech "irresolute, cowardly, and on the border of hysteria. I am saddened that at such a time, when the State of Israel faces significant security, economic, and political challenges, the prime minister chose to drag Israel to unnecessary, expensive elections."
Education Minister Shai Piron also lashed out at Netanyahu's actions. "After the cowardly act which characterizes his conduct over the past few hours, the prime minister committed another act of cowardice which we are witnessing at these very moments."