Israel made an unsettling announcement on Wednesday morning. Amit Segal (journalist, regular leaker of exclusives) tweeted that there is “a political bomb. The government loses its parliamentary majority with the departure of Silman from the coalition”.
This is what Naftali Bennet, Israeli Prime Minister, was informed of The resignation of Deputy Idit SimanA Yamina faction member who leads the premier. The news shocked all members of the heterogeneous government alliance, which had ten months earlier managed to unify eight parties from different ideologies in the goal of replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as the head of Israel’s Jewish state.
As head of the coalition’s deputy fugitive, she cited deep personal differences to justify her departure. “My values are incompatible with the current reality of the coalition. I hear the voices of those who voted for us, and I cannot allow the essential values of the right to continue to be devalued,” he wrote in the letter delivered to the premier.
Silman pointed to the “chametz crisis” as the final trigger. People who observe religious precepts during Pesach (Jewish Passover), are forbidden from eating yeast-based products in their homes and shops. Recently, the health minister Nisan Horowitz – leader of the secular Meretz faction – hinted that he would allow products such as bread to enter public hospitals during this period.
Netanyahu accused Bennett and Yair Laspid of being ambiguous, and of not having a strong enough hand, particularly after the terrorist attacks on Monday, which claimed the lives of eleven people. Many were also wary about being part of a government that included leftists and Arabs, according to the Yamina nationalist base. After her departure, the defectioning deputy removed the seat that was granted to “government of Change” (61). If it does end up winning new elections, it will be the fifth round since 2019.
Netanyahu was, predictably, thrilled. “On Pesach we celebrate the departure of the Jewish people from Egypt. We are now happy for Idit Silman’s departure. He made the right decision. We warmly welcome it: Idit returns to the real right”, he proclaimed. And he appealed to other nationalist deputies of the coalition: “in Israel there is a government whose days are numbered. We are waiting to hear from you. You can make a decision to save Israel. Come back home.”
The game room was filled with smoke. On the one hand, Bennett urgently gathered the members of his faction –originally of six deputies-, to try to counteract the pressure that others receive to follow in Silman’s footsteps. The current head and chief of the opposition, Netanyahu, has already started to make a list. To assess his options for governing again, he met with Religious Zionism’s extreme right.
Two options exist for this. First, the Likud passes a majority (61 out of 120 seats) to repeal parliament. It would need the support of the United Arab List. However, the Israeli political circus has shown that anything is possible. Next, we should call the fifth elections. Let’s hope that the arithmetic favors “Bibi”, who lies in the middle of this judicial process. Three cases have been filed against him for fraud, breaching of trust, and receiving valuable gifts.
Another option would be to form a new government within the country. Knesset current. It sounds like a scam, as Likud, its natural right-wing, ultra-Orthodox allies, currently have 52 deputies. This would mean that they would still be missing 9. This is the path that the “rebel” Silman is betting on, determined to “convince more friends ” to create a new executive within this same parliamentary term.