A series of bills to dissolve the Knesset (Parliament) were approved by a large majority of lawmakers in the first reading. A final text bringing together these bills must now be studied in committee and be the subject of several readings in plenary session.

On Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced their intention to dissolve parliament “after having exhausted all attempts to stabilize” their coalition, a decision that will trigger a fifth ballot in less than four years.

According to local media, it could be held in late October or early November.

MM. Bennett and Lapid had brought together in June 2021 a coalition unique in the history of Israel bringing together parties of the right, the center, the left, and for the first time, an Arab formation, in order to put an end to 12 years without interruption reign of Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party.

Their agreement provided for a rotation between the two men at the head of the government with the replacement of Mr. Bennett by Mr. Lapid in the event of dissolution. If the bill to dissolve the Knesset is passed, Yair Lapid will become Israel’s new prime minister until a new government is formed.

– Alternative – 

Until the dissolution is effective, the opposition can try to gather a majority of 61 deputies by rallying members of the coalition from the right, such as deputies dissatisfied with the Yamina party of Naftali Bennett or the formation of the minister of Justice Gideon Saar.

With this majority, an alternative coalition could then claim the formation of a new government and avoid the elections.

“There is always an option of an alternative government led by Netanyahu,” Miri Regev, a Likud MK, told Army Radio on Wednesday.

But according to several polls published since Monday, no bloc manages to rally 61 deputies, the threshold for setting up a ministerial team.

The Bennett coalition has suffered several setbacks in recent weeks and to further weaken it, the opposition inflicted a snub on it on June 6 by gathering a majority of votes against a bill aimed at extending the application of Israeli law to the most of 475,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank.

This law had to be renewed by June 30 or else settlers in the West Bank – Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 – risked losing their legal protection under Israeli law. In the event of dissolution of the chamber, however, this law is automatically extended.