As one coalition crisis subsides, another could increase. Channel 13 reported on Sunday that Yamina MK Nir Orbach has again threatened that he could leave the government soon, stripping her of the parliamentary majority.
The alleged threat came the same day a Meretz MK, which last week announced it was leaving the coalition, reversed course and returned to the herd.
According to the network, Orbach has said he is “on the sidelines.” According to reports, lawmakers are concerned that “this government has an increasing image of a government capitulating to the Arabs. If it doesn’t stop, I’ll be out faster than you might think.”
According to the report, coalition officials are taking the threat seriously and are in “intensive care” mode to allay Orbach’s concerns.
Earlier Sunday, Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi said she would continue to support the government days after she said she was leaving the coalition.
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Zoabi’s announcement last week that he was leaving the government pushed the coalition into a minority; With their return, the opposition/coalition collapsed to 60 MKs each, seemingly removing the immediate threat of a dissolution of the Knesset and the calling of early elections.
Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi attends a session of the Special Committee on Arab Society Affairs at the Knesset in Jerusalem, June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Zoabi’s decision came after a meeting in Jerusalem with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and several cabinet ministers and mayors to discuss their terms for returning to government.
Zoabi said she realized that “the alternative will be to this government [far-right MK Itamar] Ben-Gvir as Minister of Police and I want to prevent that alternative.”
According to sources quoted by Hebrew media, the mayors made no direct demands on Lapid, but stressed their sense of frustration at the government’s failure to deliver on its commitments and promises to the Arab community.
According to reports, Rinawie Zoabi has been promised that the government will release funds destined for Arab cities. Their return comes days after the Ra’am Party also returned, amid reports of various promises by coalition leaders to be more responsive to the needs of their public.
Orbach has long been seen as Yamina-MK, whose commitment to the coalition is shaky due to his far-right views.
After party commissar Idit Silman sealed off the government last month and it remained without a majority, Orbach was also considered a flight risk. At the time, he made several demands on heads of government and threatened to leave if they were not met.
Orbach called for holding back a plan that would have cut childcare subsidies for some children from ultra-Orthodox families; convene a planning commission to approve building plans for new homes in the West Bank; and promote the connection of illegal settlement outposts to the electricity grid.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett noted “the upheaval” facing the coalition but insisted the government is likely to strike the right tone when members of both the right and left flank are upset.
“That’s a likely sign that the government is in the thick of it… That’s the meaning of compromise,” he said. “This is good government for Israel and we will not give up.”
Arguing that the government has prioritized action over ideological disputes, the prime minister said coalition members must focus on what is good for the country rather than “narrow sectoral interests”.
“We all have to understand that nobody will be 100 percent satisfied. This is group work, not individual work,” he said. “I’m sure if we all continue to show goodwill, the government will emerge victorious from all crises.”
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