Israel is set to hold a new election as the parliament is set to disband.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his coalition partner Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have decided to dissolve the Knesset next week and call an early election.
What’s at stake: The government’s collapse comes less than a month before President Biden’s planned visit to Israel on July 13. Once the Knesset is dissolved and an election is announced, Lapid will take over as acting prime minister, according to the rotation agreement between Bennett and Lapid.
Bennett will serve as the temporary government’s alternate prime minister and will be in charge of the Iran file. Lapid will remain as foreign minister.
Between the lines: The government’s fall is additional confirmation that Israel’s political crisis, which began in 2019, is still very much alive.
In Israel, this will be the sixth election in four years.
In the news: In recent weeks, Bennett and Lapid have attempted to reauthorize a legislation governing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Bennett’s party member Nir Orbach said last week that he was leaving the government since the law had not been renewed.
Bennett tried unsuccessfully to persuade Orbach, a right-wing politician and personal friend, to stay in the coalition. Orbach gave Bennett an ultimatum in their last meeting, telling him that if the “settlements bill” didn’t pass within a week, he’d be fired.
Bennett was the one who instigated the move behind the scenes, according to two senior coalition insiders, after recognising he couldn’t pass the bill and couldn’t persuade Orbach to keep backing the coalition.
Bennett and Lapid, according to the sources, opted to cut their losses and lead the charge rather than be drawn into it and lose additional political support.
What comes next: After the Jewish High Holidays, elections are anticipated to take place towards the end of October.
When Biden visits next month, Lapid, as acting prime minister, will be the one to greet him at the airport.
to persuade him, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told Axios that “President Biden’s travel to Israel will go forward as planned.”