It was announced yesterday, after weeks of speculation, that Israel’s government has collapsed, sending Israelis back to the polls in October of this year.
The collapse of government is not a new thing for Israel. Their democracy requires that a party or coalition of parties (sometimes as many as 8-10) form a majority in the 120-member Knesset (parliament). If Knesset members “defect” or withdraw support from their party, dropping the coalition below a majority, the government is not able to function and usually collapses.
Seeing that coming, current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in conjunction with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, chose to collapse their own government. In a coalition agreement, Bennett was to split time as Prime Minister with Lapid, so Lapid will take over as Prime Minister to serve out the time until October elections.
Most did not see the current government surviving a full term, as the coalition included members from extreme right, to moderate, to Arab parties. It was only a matter of time before extreme opposite political leanings would take down the coalition.
So, what can we expect between now and Israeli elections in October? It is hard to say, but we do know that, though Bennett was a conservative, Lapid is a far left liberal. The two have pledged to continue working together cooperatively, but Lapid will almost assuredly replace the staff of the Prime Minister’s office with those loyal to liberal left ideology.
Soon, Israel could see radical leftist agendas perpetuated in certain areas, and a push similar to the US, to make dramatic changes before elections. Thankfully, with an all-but-crippled Knesset, they will likely not be able to pass radical legislation.
Waiting in the wings…former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, as leader of the opposition, pressured Bennett and Lapid every step of the way. Similar to Donald Trump, Netanyahu is powerful enough to lead a party that isn’t in power, and he is popular enough to likely guide his party once again to the highest number of mandates in the election. But in Israel, there are still enough “anybody but Netanyahu” dissenters to limit that impact. The question will be: will Netanyahu be able to cobble enough parties together to form a majority? Never count Netanyahu out, but he definitely will have a huge job ahead of him to do so.
Government and politics in Israel is never dull! Stay tuned as we watch what happens in Israel.