There was no advancement over the weekend on the two demands with regards to the West Bank settlements that MK Nir Orbach (Yamina) insisted must be met in order for him to remain in the government’s coalition.
Orbach issued his ultimatum after fellow Yamina MK Idit Silman resigned from the coalition on Wednesday, bringing it from a 61-majority to a 60-member block.
The loss of another party member would bring the coalition down to a minority of 59 parliamentarians, which would make it susceptible to legislation that could send the country into another election cycle.
Likud and right-wing activists are pressuring the remaining four Yamina parliamentarians in the coalition to resign, with a particular focus on Orbach and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Activists held protests outside of Orbach’s home from Friday through Saturday night. They also held a demonstration outside of Shaked’s home, holding up signs that said, “this isn’t normal” – resign.
Orbach had asked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the right-wing Yamina Party, to end the freeze on the advancement of plans for new settlement homes by convening the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, which has not met since October.
He also asked that West Bank settler outposts be hooked up to the electricity grid. Both steps would need the support of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who heads the Blue and White Party.
There is some speculation that an agreement to meet those demands could inflame tensions with the Palestinians, precisely at a time when there has been a sudden rise in terror attacks, including one in Tel Aviv on Thursday night that claimed three lives.
Orbach had initial success on Thursday, with the fulfillment of his first demand that funds be restored for daycare subsidies for parents of yeshiva students. Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who heads the Yisrael Beytenu Party and who wanted to remove the subsidies, has agreed to delay any action on the matter until 2024.