The Israeli Government Lost Its Majority. What Next?

April 8 2022

On Wednesday, the Israeli parliamentarian Idit Silman, a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, quit the governing coalition, which rested on a razor-thin 61-seat majority (out of 120 total). Her defection—ostensibly over regulations regarding Passover observance—highlights the fragility of the current government, which brought together several disparate parties from across the political spectrum, united only in their desire to unseat Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. Zev Chafets explains:

Bennett has done a good job running his coalition of rivals and gave Israelis a sense at what a more centrist government could look like. But he hasn’t been a particularly popular prime minister. Inexperience was one problem. He was not always good at articulating his policies to the public. And, crucially, he suffered from political blindness: he took his eye off Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, Bibi called on additional members of the ruling coalition to defect and form a new government with him at the head. There is a fair chance this will happen. It’s not only right wingers in Bennett’s anti-Bibi coalition who might be tempted. Ambitious and frustrated centrists (Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s name comes up most often) who could give a new Likud government a wider public base may also wish to join.

If no one else defects, a 60-60 split will paralyze the Knesset (unlike in the U.S. Congress, there is no tie-breaking vote). That would almost certainly lead to a new election in the summer, the fifth in the past four years.

Netanyahu will be the candidate of Likud; polls show him by far the most popular party leader. He faces three indictments on criminal charges of fraud and corruption which rumble on. But those indictments are not looking as solid as the prosecution thought, and even if he is convicted, he could appeal, dragging out the process while staying in office.

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Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, Naftali Bennett

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror