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Israeli government shaky as lawmaker quits

Idit Silman's resignation means Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's ruling coalition has lost its parliamentary majority
A resignation threatens the coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, left, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
A resignation threatens the coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, left, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
Deutsche Welle.

Deutsche Welle   |   Published 06.04.22, 04:41 PM

The Israeli government was thrown off balance Wednesday after a party member resigned, robbing the ruling Yamina alliance of a parliamentary majority.

Idit Silman, the coalition party's chief whip, stepped down in a surprise move and without informing some key leaders, according to local media.


Her resignation may be connected to an ongoing in-party dispute about whether chametz — leavened or raised foods — should be allowed into hospitals during Passover, a major Jewish festival. Jewish customs forbid the foods during the period.

 "The Jewish identity of the State of Israel is our right to exist here," Silman is quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post. "Injury [to that] without any regard for the public and for the values I represent, is a red line for me."

Ruling party's shaky balance

The move threatens the Israeli government, which has been focused on seeking close ties with Middle East leaders and on the Ukraine conflict.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in last June amid one of the country's worst political crises.

After Israel witnessed four elections in two years, Bennett's Yamina alliance emerged victorious in a historic power-sharing deal. The unlikely coalition was formed from eight parties on the left and right-wing divide, booting out the government of long-term leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

A new government could be formed

The Yamina alliance won last year's elections by only a tiny margin.

If one more party member were to follow Silman, and if the opposition party manages to gain the necessary majority to push for a no-confidence vote, Israel could face yet another set of elections.

Netanyahu, who now leads the opposition, commended Silman for her decision in a video, saying that she was "welcome back home to the real right."

The former Israeli leader also called on other members of the ruling coalition to follow suit.

Silman's resignation may not have an immediate effect, though. Israel's parliament, the Knesset, does not sit until May 8.

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