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Israel’s ruling coalition teeters on collapse — RT World News

The defection of a key lawmaker has left Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government holding less than half the parliamentary seats

Israel could be heading for its fifth election in three years as the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shows signs of disintegration and losing its grip on power.

Nir Orbach, a longtime Bennett ally, announced on Monday that he had quit the ruling legislative bloc, saying he was being held hostage by “extremist and anti-Zionist elements”, like Mazen Ghanaim, a member of the Joint List (Ra’am) party, and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, a left-wing Meretz MP. Orbach’s decision left Bennett’s diverse coalition with just 59 seats in the 120-member Knesset, two seats shy of a majority.

Addressing the Knesset on Monday, Bennett acknowledged his government could collapse by “a week or two” unless the defectors return to the fold. Orbach became the third member of Bennett’s conservative Yamina party to leave the ruling bloc.

“One after another they abandon the sinking ship” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his successor. “Your government of extortion and protection is collapsing.”

The upheaval came exactly a year after Bennett came to power forming Israel’s most diverse coalition government in history. It brought together parties from all political persuasions, including conservatives, leftists and Arabs.

The group’s tenuous grip on power was underscored by the failure last week to pass a bill that would extend Israeli legal rights to settlers in the occupied West Bank. Ghanaim and Zoabi were among the lawmakers who voted against the bill.

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Netanyahu, who ruled for a record 12 years, is seeking to return to power despite corruption charges. His party, Likud, holds the most Knesset seats — more than four times as many as Yamina, in fact — but is unlikely to win an outright majority in the next election, and lawmakers elsewhere parties would be reluctant to join Netanyahu in a new decision. coalition. Likud currently controls 29 seats in parliament.

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