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Idit Silman, a member of the Israeli Knesset and chairman of the current governing coalition, resigned his leadership position in the coalition on Wednesday, throwing the Jewish state parliament into chaos and encouraging former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Knesset of Israel follows a parliamentary system so that the executive power of the government springs from the majority party – or from a coalition of parties that make up a majority. The current ruling coalition had only a one-man majority in the Knesset, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s conservative Yamina party joining the Liberal Yesh Atid party, led by Deputy Prime Minister Yair Lapid. This coalition ousted the former coalition, led by Netanyahu’s Likud party, which still controls a majority of seats in the Knesset.
Silman’s resignation threatens to deprive the coalition of its majority, leading to a quick election and opening the door to Netanyahu’s return.
Silman said she chose to resign because she “can not stand it anymore,” adding that she can not continue to damage the Jewish identity of the state of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported. Silman may have referred to a disagreement over allowing chametz – foods with leavening agents – in hospitals during Easter.
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In her farewell letter to Bennett, Silman said she had “joined the current coalition out of a genuine desire to create unity and closeness on the basis of the common good that unites us as a people and as a state.” Still, she added that now her core values are “inconsistent with current reality.”
She said she was “aware of the votes from outside and of the sincere protest from the voters whose support let us win and with whose votes we were elected.”
“It’s time to recalibrate our route,” Silman wrote. “To try to establish a national, Jewish, Zionist government. Let us unite and realize the values for which we have been elected.”
Maariv reporter Anna Ravya Barsky reported that several senior coalition members knew about Silman’s decision for at least a week, but reports suggested Bennett did not know in advance. He has reportedly canceled the schedule he had planned for the day to deal with the consequences of her resignation.
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Labor MK Gilad Kariv told radio station 103FM that he “very much hopes that at the end of the day Idit Silman will take it back, she is chairing the coalition. This step can only lead to one result and it is a general election “The last thing Israeli society needs at the moment is another election campaign.”
Netanyahu congratulated Silman on her decision and thanked her “in the name of many people in Israel who are waiting for this moment.”
“I urge everyone who was elected with the votes of the nationalist bloc to join Idit and return home, you will be received with all respect and open arms,” he concluded.
Likud leader Yariv Levin congratulated Silman and praised her for “saving the state of Israel from a dangerous and unprecedented process of deep damage to the Jewish character of the state and the basis of its existence.”
Likud party officials have claimed that Silman is not the only coalition member who has considered resigning, and they expressed hope that others will follow her.
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Only one more dropout will cause a choice.
This political crisis follows close to a two-year crisis from April 2019 to March 2021, in which Israel held four quick elections to the Knesset: in April 2019, September 2019, March 2020 and March 2021.