Netanyahu fires two cabinet members. Leaders call for new elections.
As if there is not enough drama in the Middle East right now, Israel’s coalition government just blew up.
Well, “blew up” might not be the appropriate term for that part of the world. Let’s say it “unraveled,” “came apart,” “disintegrated” — along those lines.
Short version: after months of growing political tensions, Prime Minister Netanyahu fired two senior Members of his Cabinet this week (Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni). The rest of the Knesset Members then voted to dissolve itself.
It now appears parliamentary elections will be held March 17th, though this is not yet set. It’s theoretically possible that Netanyahu will find a way to cobble together a new coalition in the next few days before the Knesset finalizes an election date.
Netanyahu and the center-right parties seem — at the moment, at least — to be in a strong position. Snap polls this week indicate that if the vote were held today, they could garner between 65 and 70 seats of the 120 member parliament to create a more stable and unified coalition government.
However, in Israeli politics, absolutely anything is possible. There are all kinds of backroom deals being negotiated at the moment, many by political leaders who are tired of — or furious at — Netanyahu for one reason or another. Most are on the center-left of the political spectrum. But some are on the right, as well. Together, they are trying to find a route to an “Anybody But Bibi” coalition. A new Jerusalem Post poll finds 60% of Israelis don’t want Netanyahu to be the next PM.
Could Bibi’s opponents be successful? I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Netanyahu is not the next Prime Minister of Israel.
No one has his level of experience, particularly on national security and foreign policy matters — and these are enormously important as the Iran and ISIS threats mount daily. But Israeli politics is a blood sport that makes life in Washington seem tame by comparison. It’s going to be an interesting three months, to say the least.
Let’s pray for the Lord’s will to be done, and for the God of Israel to protect His people and His nation and work all things for His glory.
LATEST ISRAELI POLLING DATA (from the Times of Israel):
According to Channel 10’s Tuesday night poll, Likud would win 22 seats, Jewish Home 17, Labor 13, Yisrael Beytenu 12, Moshe Kahlon’s as-yet-unnamed party 12, Yesh Atid nine, the Arab parties nine, United Torah Judaism eight, Shas seven, Meretz seven, and Hatnua four.
Channel 2’s survey showed Likud with 22, Jewish Home 17, Labor 13, the Arab parties 11, Kahlon 10, Yisrael Beytenu 10, Yesh Atid with nine, Shas nine, United Torah Judaism eight, Meretz seven, and Hatnua four.
Walla’s Wednesday morning poll gave Likud 23 seats, Jewish Home 17, Labor 12, Yisrael Beytenu 12, Yesh Atid 11, Kahlon 10, the Arab parties 10, United Torah Judaism eight, Shas seven, Meretz five, and Hatnua five.
In the current Knesset, Yesh Atid has 19 seats, Likud 18, Labor 15, Yisrael Beytenu 13, Jewish Home 12, Shas 11, the Arab parties 11, United Torah Judaism 7, Meretz six, Hatnua six, and Kadima two.