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Israeli Leaders Propose Dissolving Government and Plan to Hold Fifth Election in 3 years

‘We have a country that needs running,’ said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

The Israeli coalition government will be dissolved following an announcement from the prime minister.

The subsequent elections are expected to be held sometime in the fall and will be the fifth in the last three years.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a joint televised appearance on June 20 to announce the news. Bennett said it was “the right decision for Israel” and promised an “orderly transition.”

The current coalition government was formed in June of 2021 through a joint agreement among eight political parties — including both left-wing and right-wing groups as well as an Arab Islamist Party. The coalition seemed primarily united on removing then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power.

Prior to its formation, the national held four inconclusive elections. In recent weeks, the government has struggled to maintain order and pass legislation. Three members of Bennett’s Yamina party have defected from the coalition and the prime minister said it has “exhausted options to stabilize.” 

“We have a country that needs running,” Bennett said, just as the lights in the press room turned off, per The Washington Post.

“How symbolic,” Lapid said.

“The immediate cause for Bennett’s decision was the looming expiration of laws that grant West Bank settlers special legal status. If those laws were to expire, settlers would be subject to many of the military laws that apply to the territory’s more than 2 million Palestinians,” Associated Press

“This is an evening of great news for millions of citizens,” Netanyahu said on Twitter. He noted his intention to reform his nationalist government during the next election.

“After a year of a determined campaign by the opposition in the Knesset, with great suffering in the Israeli public, it is clear to everyone that the most wretched government in the history of the country has reached an end,” Netanyahu said, per the Times of Israel. “My friends and I will form a broad nationalist government led by Likud.”

Likud is the National Liberal Movement, a religious, right-wing political party in Israel that Netanyahu leads. A poll released in early June by Kan public broadcaster indicated his party could win 60 seats in parliament if new elections were held — just one seat short of a majority.

The coalition government will be formally dissolved next week. During the transition, Lapid will take over as interim prime minister.

United States President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Israel in mid-July.

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