Amid a new rise in Israel-Palestine tensions, the Israeli government is losing majority, leading to the possibility of yet another election.
It was this Thursday that another Israeli lawmaker quit the governing coalition, giving the opposition party in the Parliament a two-seat majority. This in turn has also given rise to the suspicion that maybe Israel will have to face the fifth election only in three years.
Although losing only two seats will not bring down the ruling government in Israel, the loss of the majority is a clear signal of instability. That is, any divisive issue in the coming days can very well topple the government.
What makes matters worse is that the government is currently under intense pressure due to the escalation of tensions between Israeli authorities and the people in Palestine.
The bloody clashes at the Aqsa Mosque, the terrorist attacks that followed, and Israel’s heavy military response in the West Bank are among such escalating incidents.
Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi , the lawmaker who resigned from the coalition on Thursday, is a member of Israel’s Palestinian minority from the left-wing Meretz party.
Explaining the reason why she did so, Zoabi said that she disagreed with the government’s treatment of the Arab community in Israel, especially the recent attacks of Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa Mosque;
“Again and again, the coalition leaders have preferred to adopt hawkish, hard-line and right-wing positions on important basic issues of unparalleled importance to the general Arab society,” Zoabi said in her resignation letter to Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
She also added that “I cannot continue to support the existence of a coalition that conspires in this disgraceful manner against the society from which I have come.”
Zoabi’s resignation means that opposition lawmakers in Israel’s Parliament now control 61 of the 120 seats. This is well enough to vote to dissolve the government and call for another election, which if happens, it will be the fifth since April 2019. Zoabi, however, has not yet said anything about her intention to whether to support a vote to dissolve Parliament or not.
Zoabi is not the only one
Zoabi, however, is not the first lawmaker to quit the government. It was last month that a right-wing member of the coalition did the same and resigned her position in the government.
Idit Silman, the chairwoman of the governing coalition, said in a letter to Prime Minister Bennett early this April that she quit the government because as she believed, the government’s direction did not reflect the values of the right-wing voters who brought their party, Yamina, to power; “It is time to change course and to try to form a new national, Jewish, Zionist coalition with right-wing lawmakers,” She wrote in her letter.
The government coalition has never been so diverse in the whole history of Israel. Last year, different parties joined forces with the aim of ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and breaking the political deadlock that had forced Israel into four elections in a row.
But the new coalition government is made up of eight parties with diverse ideologies. And now, with more and more lawmakers resigning from the government, there is a political lifeline forming for Netanyahu, who now leads the opposition in Parliament.
Opposition parties in Israel’s Parliament now have enough seats to create their own new coalition government even without having to hold a new election.
The problem they face, however, is that they are already divided on many issues and may not be able to agree on a candidate for prime minister.