Will Israel's government fall? Four scenarios

With the resignation of MK Idit Silman from the coalition, there are now four possible scenarios of what will come next.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations mission to Israel, February 20, 2022.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations mission to Israel, February 20, 2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

With the resignation of MK Idit Silman from the coalition, here are four possible scenarios of what will come next:

1. Domino effect

Another member of the Knesset quits the coalition and helps the opposition – led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu – to pass a bill dispersing the Knesset and taking Israel to a new election.

In this event, immediately after the dispersion of the Knesset, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid would become prime minister until the formation of a new government.

 Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid speaks with MK Idit Silman (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid speaks with MK Idit Silman (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

For Silman, the ideal situation would be for another member of Yamina to break away from the party so that she can then – together with earlier Yamina rebel MK Amichai Chikli – form a new faction that would be able to merge with an existing party and run in a new election.

2. Gantz jumps ship

Before the Knesset dissolves, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz decides to join the opposition and become Israel’s prime minister. This scenario is possible for a few reasons. The first is that Gantz, who currently serves as defense minister, has been unhappy with the current government since its inception. He was particularly bothered by Bennett – with six seats and now five – becoming prime minister while he, Gantz, had eight seats.

  Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz is seen addressing a townhall in Munich, Germany, on February 20, 2022. (credit: Munich Security Conference) Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz is seen addressing a townhall in Munich, Germany, on February 20, 2022. (credit: Munich Security Conference)

In addition, Gantz might prefer this option over the dispersion of the Knesset, which would see Lapid become prime minister. Remember that the two politicians split – with Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party leaving the Blue and White alliance – in 2020 when Gantz decided to join Netanyahu’s last government, which ultimately fell apart.

While Gantz has said that he learned the lesson from sitting with Netanyahu and that he would not make the same mistake again, he could argue that by joining Netanyahu he would not only be serving as prime minister but would also be preventing another election and further political instability.

3. A comeback for Netanyahu

Netanyahu somehow manages to form a government in the current Knesset or steps aside as chairman of the Likud – highly unlikely – and allows a different Likud MK to do so. It is more likely that he would prefer crowning Gantz than someone from his own party, something he could have done before Bennett became prime minister last June.

 Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

4. Limping to the finish line

The government – now a lame duck and unable to pass legislation – manages to survive until the beginning of 2023, when it needs to pass a new budget. Although it would not be able to pass any laws, this might be the best scenario right now for Bennett.