Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will have to deal with a major test for his ruling coalition when a legislator from his Nationalist Party left his government without a majority in parliament, less than a year after the coalition was formed.
The departure of Idit Silman raises the prospect of new parliamentary elections less than a year after the government took office. Prime Minister Bennett’s government enjoyed a one-seat majority, but will now struggle to function.
Silman, who served as coalition whip for Bennett’s Yamina party, announced on Wednesday that she would not continue to support the unity government, and called for the formation of a right-wing government without elections.
Silman has had ideological conflicts with members of the coalition’s leftist parties to preserve Jewish identity in the nation. In a letter to Prime Minister Bennett, she advised him to “try to form a nationalist, Jewish, Zionist government”.
Previously, it opposed allowing people to bring leavened bread to public hospitals, a product prohibited according to religious traditions, during the Passover holiday. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that hospitals cannot prevent people from doing the same in 2021 because they serve people of different faiths.
“The core values in my worldview are incompatible with current reality,” Silman wrote in a letter to Bennett.
Silman’s departure hampered Bennett’s attempt to form a rare coalition of liberal and Arab representatives, who had decided to join his government last June. The alliance now has 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.
Bennett had recently formed a coalition of eight political parties consisting of hardline nationalists, liberals and Islamists who found a common ground in their opposition to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, there have been clear differences within this union, which have now been uncovered by Silman’s exit.
Netanyahu said, “To the friends still sitting in this alliance, I say: come home.” “Join Idit Silman, join us, and together we will put Israel back on the path of success, achievement, security, and peace.”
The former leader is attempting to win over members of Bennett’s party and dissolve the coalition.
Some information for this report has been obtained from The Associated Press.