Likud Submits Bill to Dissolve Israeli Knesset

In the latest bid to take down the government, the Likud party submits a bill calling for the Knesset to disperse; Likud may not be able to win a majority, as the Arab party Joint List and a coalition turncoat are still on the fence

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset last week.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset last week.Credit: Emil Salman

The Netanyahu-led Likud party submitted a bill on Monday to dissolve the Knesset, in their latest attempt to undermine Israel's current government.

The bill is to be put to a preliminary vote on Wednesday. If it passes, which is unlikely, it could spell the end of the ruling coalition.

The majority-Arab Joint List, which is also part of the opposition, may not support the bill. Nonetheless, Likud does have the prerogative to pull the request should they feel it won't pass.

Meanwhile, officials with the party of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Yamina, believe coalition defector Nir Orbach will not support the bill, though he has yet to announce his official position. Still, the lawmaker's stance remains that the current government is not viable, according to Yamina officials and people close to Orbach, who earlier this month held talks with Likud about joining the opposition.

Orbach is even less likely to make any immediate moves given Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's planned official visit to Morocco Monday: Officials assess it is doubtful he would make a big move such as this while she is abroad. The trip follows Orbach's Sunday meetings with Shaked and Bennett's former chief of staff, Tal Gan-Zvi, which were held at Shaked's request.

The prevailing assumption is that, in any event, no decision will be made before Wednesday morning. When Orbach announces his final decision on supporting a bill for early elections, the opposition will have to decide whether to bring the bill to a vote despite the risk of not getting a majority.

In conversations, Orbach has repeatedly said his wish is to form an alternative government in the current Knesset. He admits to those he speaks with that a government led by Netanyahu and the far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir is not ideal, but he says that it is preferable to the status quo.

However, another coalition source dubbed opposition leader Netanyahu's recent behavior as "horrendous," stating that the ex-PM is willing to leave "scorched earth" in order to return to power. "This behavior should not be rewarded," the source continued "an election is not a good thing either. That's why I'm fighting for this government."

The source also doubled down on Mansour Abbas' United Arab List inclusion in the government, stressing that the "ideal scenario" would be his participation without the government's survival depending on his party.

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