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Back On Political Roller Coaster

Israel is all set to hold its fifth Parliamentary Election (in October 2022) in the last four years, and there is a huge possibility that former Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu (b. October 21, 1949) shall make a comeback.

Leaders of two major parties in the ruling coalition recently announced that the Government would soon dissolve the Knesset (the Parliament of Israel) In the third week of June, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that a Bill would be tabled in the House in this regard in the last week of June. And then, the West Asian nation shall gear up for the polls. Till then, leader of the Yesh Atid Party and Foreign Minister Lapid would serve as the acting Prime Minister. According to the statement, Lapid shall also hold talks with US President Joe Biden in July.

Outgoing PM Naftali Bennett

It may be noted that Bennett of the New Right Party became the Prime Minister in 2021 after Netanyahu’s alleged involvement in corruption rocked his political career. Bennett has been struggling a lot to run the Coalition Government of eight parties with eight different ideologies. Conservatives, liberals, leftists and even Arab parties were there in Bennett’s Coalition Government, and they could not agree on almost any common issue. They remained united chiefly in their desire to oust Netanyahu after 13 years in power. The crisis deepened when a key member of Bennett’s party left the outfit in April 2022. With this, the New Right Party lost its majority in the 120-member Knesset.

The Left parties recently opposed the Government’s decision to renew an old law on the settlement of Jews in the West Bank. Under these circumstances, Prime Minister Bennett had no other option, but to dissolve the Knesset and to call for fresh elections.

Opposition parties, led by Netanyahu, also threatened to come out with a Bill in order to dissolve the Parliament. However, PM Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid made an announcement in this regard even before the parties in Opposition made such a move. In the presence of the foreign minister, the PM said that he made the right decision at a difficult time. He also thanked Lapid for backing his decision. He further claimed that the ruling coalition brought the culture of working in alliance in Israel. Lapid stressed: “Even if we are going to elections in a few months, the challenges we face will not wait.” He made the comment while pointing to Israel’s high cost of living and security challenges in Gaza, Lebanon and Iran.

Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been contemplating a return to power. Although corruption cases against him have not been closed yet, opinion polls suggest that his Likud Party may return with an absolute majority. “I intend to form a strong, national, steady government. I think the atmosphere changed, I can feel it. I hear from the people. You walk and talk to mothers, fathers, young couples with children, with older people, some of whom did not vote for me, and they say – we now want the real change, we want to return the State of Israel to the place it deserves and I intend to do it together with my friends,” insisted Netanyahu.

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