JERUSALEM — Israel’s latest government crisis was resolved at least temporarily on Sunday, when lawmakers who left the coalition government late last week agreed to seize a minority majority held by the opposition over the weekend.
The coalition, a coalition of eight parties with ideologically diverse agendas, now has 60 seats in the 120-seat parliament, a position that allows power but makes governance difficult.
Many Israelis believe this government day is less than a year old and inherently unstable, despite the crisis being resolved on Sunday, and expect Israel to head back to the polls in months for a fifth election. less than 4 years.
The past few weeks have been particularly upsetting for the government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The prime minister’s unusual coalition consists of political right, left and center parties, including for the first time a small Islamist party. The partners came together primarily with a shared aspiration to break the political stalemate that ousted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pushed Israel into a fourth straight election.
Parliamentarian Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, who is at the center of the most recent turmoil, is a member of Israel’s left-leaning minority party, Meretz, who resigned on Thursday saying the government was not committed to improving conditions for Arab citizens. One fifth of the country’s population. She pointed out Israel’s recent intervention in Jerusalem’s Aksa Mosque and police assaults mourners at the funeral of a Palestinian journalist.
On Sunday, Rinawie Zoabi said in a statement after an intensive meeting and phone call from politicians urging him to resume participation and obligations to his party and coalition, saying, “The decision has been reversed under tremendous pressure from the party and coalition. The leaders of the local Arab councils who relied on me and understood the meaning of my resignation.”
She said she did so to help the people and the Bennett government’s alternative was to avoid the possibility that far-right politician Itamar Benjivir would become the next police minister.
Her return to the coalition would have avoided a planned parliamentary dissolution vote on Wednesday as the opposition is now unlikely to secure a majority.
Netanyahu continued to weaken the government on Sunday after Rinawie Zoabi’s revival, referring to Arab members and accusing them of “relying on people who hate Israel and supporters of terrorism”. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu, is aiming for his comeback while leading his opposition while he is on trial on corruption charges.
The commotion in recent weeks is not only bad by Israeli standards, it’s far from President Bennett’s promise to end years of political turmoil and stalemate.
Another coalition member resigned last month saying the government’s direction did not reflect the values of the right-wing voters who held their party in power. Senator Idit Silman of Bennett’s Yamina party said it was time to form a new “national, Jewish, Zionist” coalition with right-wing lawmakers.
Less than two weeks later, Raam, a small Islamist party, agreed to rejoin the coalition after a month after taking a hiatus to protest police action at the Aksa Mosque.
Israeli critics have called this a season of political exploitation. A shaky government risks collapsing whenever it resigns or is suspended, and opposition parties intend to lure another defector across the line.
Many people don’t expect the government to last if it lasts until next March. If the government fails to convene a majority of 61 votes to pass the budget by the legal deadline for that month, the parliament is automatically dissolved and Israelis return to the polls next summer.