Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has floated the idea of taking a break from politics and not running in the next elections, according to Israeli television reports on Wednesday.
The Kan public broadcaster reported that Bennett raised the idea during a meeting with other members of his Yamina party, but said he had not made a final decision.
The Prime Minister has not publicly addressed the issue.
Yamina deputies reportedly urged Bennett to make a decision quickly, linking their fate with his. According to the Kan report, they are also likely to walk away if Bennett does.
The Knesset on Wednesday approved a preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve itself. Once it clears the necessary legislative hurdles, Israel will head to its fifth election since 2019 and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become interim prime minister until a new government is formed. Bennett would then replace Lapid as acting prime minister.
Polls broadcast on TV on Tuesday showed Bennett’s Yamina winning just four to five seats, down from the seven the party won in the 2021 election, which could play a role in encouraging the incumbent prime minister to give in the reins of his party.
Meanwhile, Channel 13 reported on Wednesday that before Bennett decided the prospect of saving the coalition was over, his proxies offered to appoint Yamina rebel Nir Orbach to a powerful post of his choice in exchange for his resignation. of the Knesset.
Orbach has reportedly been offered the presidency of Mifal HaPais, Israel’s national lottery, or the post of chief executive of Keren Hayesod, the country’s official fundraising body.
Orbach apparently rejected the proposal, citing his personal values.
The Yamina MK recently dropped his support for the government, citing the refusal of coalition MKs who refused to support crucial legislation applying Israeli law to Israeli citizens living in the West Bank; the decision left the government with a parliamentary minority.
Bennett was first elected to the Knesset after leading the Jewish Home party to 12 seats in the 2013 elections. He later served as a minister in governments led by Netanyahu.
He failed to cross the electoral threshold with his New Right party in the April 2019 elections, but was given a second chance when another round of elections was held in September of the same year. , regaining a seat in the Knesset as part of the Yamina faction.
After the 2021 election, Bennett broke with his former ally Netanyahu and formed a historic and diverse unity government, with himself as prime minister. The coalition has crumbled under the weight of defections in recent months, many from his own party, due to ideological divisions with coalition partners.
New elections will probably take place at the end of October or the beginning of November, after the Jewish holidays.
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