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Bennett-Lapid Coalition Collapses and Israel Goes to New Elections

Bennett-Lapid, El American

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Chancellor Yair Lapid held a joint press conference on Monday and explained the reasons for dissolving the official coalition and calling for the fifth elections in four years.

“Israeli citizens: it is a difficult time, but we made the right decision for the State of Israel,” Bennett said in his remarks, referring to the dissolution of parliament. The political crisis was triggered in April when Idit Silman, a lawmaker from the Yemina party — chaired by Bennett — resigned from the coalition, leaving the government without a parliamentary majority. In recent weeks, two other deputies stopped voting with the government, further weakening it.

The Prime Minister explained that the reason for dissolving the government was the expiration of the provisional legislation governing the Jewish populations of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The same expires on June 30 and its extension was denied by the opposition with the aim of attacking the government. “Last Friday I held talks with security officials and realized that within ten days the state of Israel was going to be paralyzed,” Bennett said, referring to the legal framework that was to cease to apply to 500,000 Israeli citizens living in the disputed area with the Palestinian Arabs. Unlike the opposition,” he explained, “which turned the state into a tool for political games, I do not agree to damage national security.

Bennett pointed out that in one-year justice was recovered and it was proven that it is possible to work leaving differences aside, referring to the coalition formed by parties from the right, center, left and, for the first time, an Arab party

Finally, Bennett, leader of the nationalist Yemina party, promised an orderly transition to his coalition ally Yair Lapid, chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid. 

Lapid, for his part, defined Bennett as a “partner”, and highlighted his creativity and courage as an Israeli leader. He thanked him for the degree of responsibility that puts the country before personal interests. The Chancellor added: “Our friendship passed this test, there were obstacles, but we were always able to overcome them successfully.”

In reference to the months ahead of him being a transitional prime minister, Lapid said that “even if we go to the polls, our challenges as a country cannot wait” and listed some of these issues: “We need to deal with the cost of living, to conduct the fight against Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, and to confront the forces that threaten to turn Israel into an anti-democratic state.”

The Prime Ministerial rotation will come into effect in the next few days, once the Knesset (Parliament) votes on the fall of the government, as established in the coalition agreement signed between the two. The election day in Israel, the fifth in four years, has in principle two possible dates: October 25 or November 1.

Yair was born in 1963 into a prominent family. He is the son of Shulamit, a renowned writer, and Tommy Lapid, a journalist, Holocaust survivor, Minister of Justice and leader of the secular Shinui party. Before turning to politics, Yair’s path included journalism, music and acting. In addition, he has a black belt in karate… a fact that will come in handy given the harshness of political discussions. 

The turning point came in 2008 when Lapid went on to host “Ulpan Shishi”, a weekly program on Channel 2 in which he addressed very serious content. In 2012 he announced his move into politics and the founding of the Yesh Atid (There is Future) party.

In the last elections, March 2021, it won 17 seats, being the second party after Likud. Bibi Netanyahu failed to form a government and the mandate fell into the hands of Yair Lapid. He forged a coalition of 61 parliamentarians with eight groups of different political ideas and one Arab party. A rotating government was agreed with Naftali Bennett. 

After a year as Foreign Minister, he announced on Monday the dissolution of the government. On an interim basis, Lapid will become Israel’s 14th Prime Minister, until a new Executive takes office. Given the political fragmentation, the outcome of the next election is unpredictable.

Eduardo Zalovich

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