(For an interview today explaining my analysis of this new development, click on the image below)
This morning Israelis woke up to find out that the chairman of the coalition (our government of 61 seats out of 120) Idit Silman has quit the government. She is concerned that the Jewish nature of the state is eroding under certain policies in the new government, which is less than one year old.
“I will not abet the harming of the Jewish identity of the State of Israel and the people of Israel. I will continue to try to persuade my friends to return home and form a right-wing government, I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Another government can be formed in this Knesset.” —MK Idit Silman
What does that mean? Assuming she does not change her mind (and this could be a stunt to gain leverage over left-leaning partners who don’t want to see the coalition fail, and Netanyahu return to power) it means one of three things—I think.
1. It means that those on the right will try and form a new coalition, presumably led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who has already congratulated Silman “on her bravery.” Of course, this comes after massive harassment of Silman by Netanyahu supporters. Bibi even suggested that she fabricated a story of being attacked physically at a gas station. But in politics, everything is forgivable, if it furthers one's agenda or acquisition of power.
If she defects, the right-wing government would still need eight more defectors and it would also include the far-right nationalist/racist Itamar Ben Gvir. The six Arab members of the Joint List will never join a right-wing government, nor be welcomed. (Though, it should be remembered that it was Netanyahu, who first welcome the Islamic Raam party to join him last year!)*
[This] option would be for Likud to form an alternative government in the current 24th Knesset, although it appears it would struggle to do so — Likud has 29 seats, Religious Zionism has seven, Shas has nine and United Torah Judaism has seven — a total of 52.—Times of Israel
That would mean several members of the current government will need to join the new one. Even if Bennett’s whole party, Yamina, joined, it would not be enough. They would be two seats short.
2. If that cannot be achieved, we will go to new elections. Again! As I understand it, that would have to be a vote to dissolve the Knesset. However, I'm not sure Likud would have the votes for that either. They will still need two more votes.
3. A third option would be for Netanyahu to retire from politics. If he did that, we would have a center-right government very quickly. He is presently on trial for serious corruption charges. If he retires, then somebody from within his own party could put a coalition together, like former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. There are many strong right-wing politicians that have sworn they will never serve again with Bibi after being lied to and manipulated over and over again—such as Avigdor Liberman and Gidor Sa’ar. Netanyahu has burned many bridges. But a Nir Barkat could bring them back.
4. Of course the fourth option is to do nothing. As I understand it, the current government would continue as a minority government. That means they would not have the necessary votes to pass legislation, but they would continue to govern. I need to make sure that I understand this correctly. Eventually, though the government would fall when it failed to pass a budget next year. Failing to pass a budget, under the current agreement would automatically result in new elections.
Silman did not inform Prime Minister Bennett of her decision, but he learned about it from reports.
*The Raam Party broke from the Arab Joint List in hopes of being part of a government. In the end, well they did not technically become coalition members, they voted for the new government, giving it the 61 needed votes.