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Israel’s government moved toward collapse Wednesday after a right-wing lawmaker from the ruling coalition announced she was joining the opposition, raising concerns that the country might head for an election in less than a year, Axios reported.
Coalition whip Idit Silman of the Yamina Party said she couldn’t support the unity government anymore and called for the formation of a new right-wing government without holding fresh elections.
Her exit caused the fragile coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to lose its majority in parliament – until now, it had held a majority by one seat.
Silman said the reason behind her departure was a memo by Israel’s health minister allowing individuals to bring leavened items into hospitals during Passover. She said she “couldn’t allow it to harm Israel’s Jewish identity.”
But sources within the coalition said her departure was primarily motivated by recent criticism the Israeli unity government received over last month’s terror attacks and for failing to provide building permits to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.
They added that Silman also reached an agreement with former prime minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who promised her a high-level spot on his party’s list in the next elections.
Netanyahu welcomed Silman’s move and urged other right-wing members to follow her, to “come back home.”
Silman’s exit risks collapsing the fragile coalition comprised of right-wing and Arab parties, which was formed last year following four legislative elections in two years.
If one more lawmaker leaves the coalition, the opposition could have the 61-member majority needed to dissolve the legislature and call new polls.
Parliament is in recess until next month.