Bennett leaves on his own terms while he can

Published date21 June 2022
Publication titleGlobes (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
Earlier yesterday, however, there had been another tough conversation between Bennett and MK Nir Orbach of Yamina, in which the latter informed him that he intended to vote in favor of the dissolution of the Knesset in a first reading next week at the latest. Bennett realized that Orbach would not return to the coalition, and that the fate of the government and his own fate had been decided, and he wanted to keep control of events. Along the way, Bennett neutralized Orbach and Shaked's ability to obtain guaranteed places on the Likud candidate list in the next election in exchange for voting for dissolution. Shaked received Bennett's message while she was on an official visit to Morocco, and was unable to respond in real time. Checkmate

The person who in the course of the day turned into one of the most powerful people in the Knesset on the way to elections was MK Ahmad Tibi. One after another, the heads of the coalition parties made their way to his office, at first to ask him not to support the bill to dissolve the Knesset, and to support coalition legislation, and then, after Bennett's announcement, to coordinate their preferred election date with him. Lapid and Tibi agreed that the election would take place at the end of October. Behind the scenes there are claims of collusion on passing laws that will prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from becoming prime minister again.

In one moment, Ra'am leader and coalition member Mansour Abbas lost his ability to dictate the future of the coalition to fellow Arab politician Tibi, of the opposition. Lapid, who was surprised by Bennett's decision, gained two things. One is that it will be he who, as transitional prime minister, receives US President Joe Biden when he visits Israel next month. The other is that he is the only person in the government who can coordinate the assistance of both Mansour's Ra'am party and Tibi's Joint Arab List in running the transition government. Paradoxically, Lapid could have more freedom of action as head of a transition government than Bennett had as head of a narrow coalition.

In practice, the bill to dissolve the Knesset will come to a vote next week, and from there the Knesset will roll on towards elections that...

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