image Photo: Flash90

Israeli Opposition vows to bring down Bennett gov’t

The coalition government survived two motions of no-confidence immediately after the Knesset reconvened for the summer session.

 By Erin Viner

The political Opposition, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tabled the motion after two separate attempts failed to dissolve the parliament.

You cannot defy the physics of politics,” Netanyahu said from the Knesset plenum.

In remarks addressed to his rival and current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his coalition partner Yair Lapid, the former Premier said, “It’s over, Naftali. Your government has completed its short and rotten tenure. You are holding Israel hostage in your internal fight with Lapid. There is a new reality show: Who will be caretaker prime minister? This game is being played at the expense of our security, our future and our existence.”

The first measure submitted by Netanyahu’s Likud faction nevertheless lost by a 52-61 margin, even though it was supported by the opposition’s predominately Arab Joint List. The second attempt was led by the Shas ultra-Orthodox Jewish party without the Joint List, which failed 52-56.

“All the no-confidence motions were defeated, and we are kicking off this session on the right foot. The silent majority in Israel wants the success of the government, the success of the state and continued economic prosperity and stability,” proclaimed Bennett after the votes, adding, “The silent majority should speak a little more. We will continue to take the country forward, in growth and security, and we will do it together — that is paramount.”

Foreign Minister and Alternate Premier Yair Lapid posted a message on Twitter reading, “after all the spins and malarkey, we started with a victory.”

The fragile Bennett/Lapid coalition government holds just 60 out of 120 parliamentary seats, after Yamina Member of Knesset Idit Silman suddenly resigned last month. The former Knesset whip, who was absent for both votes, was reportedly offered a ministerial position and membership on the Likud list for the next elections, when Netanyahu hopes to oust Bennett from the premiership.

The Likud intends to introduce yet another motion on Wednesday aimed at dissolving the country’s 24th Knesset, which would prompt immediate elections.