Israel's coalition must be widened, not toppled - Bennett

“Political instability is not healthy for the state,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told his faction.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Efforts are underway to not only maintain Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government but to widen it, sources close to Bennett revealed on Monday.

The sources would not elaborate on which MKs are being targeted, but they said multiple efforts were taking place.

“Political instability is not healthy for the state,” Bennett told his faction. “We must gather all our strength to maintain the coalition and even widen it. We should not enter battles inside the coalition because if different sides pull, the thin rope will break.”

The coalition survived two no-confidence motions by 61 to 52 and 56 to 52 votes. The Joint List voted against the Likud’s no-confidence motion that would have made opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu prime minister and did not vote on Shas’s motion. Former Yamina MKs Amichai Chikli and Idit Silman did not vote on either motion.

The bigger challenge will take place on Wednesday, when the Likud will bring a vote to disperse the Knesset and initiate elections if it has a majority to pass it. The bill’s fate will be decided on Tuesday when the Ra’am (United Arab List) faction and its governing Shura Council convene. Ra’am MK Mazen Ghanaim said he will recommend leaving the coalition but will respect any decision made.

 Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is seen gesturing alongside Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, on May 9. 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is seen gesturing alongside Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy at the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, on May 9. 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu mocked Bennett, saying that the Shura Council dictates his policies and that he is now competing with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid over the job of caretaker prime minister when elections are initiated.

“You cannot defy the physics of politics,” Netanyahu said in the Knesset plenum. “It’s over, Naftali. Your government has completed its short and rotten tenure. You are holding Israel hostage in your internal fight with Lapid. There is a new reality show: Who will be caretaker prime minister? This game is being played at the expense of our security, our future and our existence.”