Why Is Israel Headed To Its 5th Election In 3 Years?
Does it have to do with a collapsing coalition government?
The upcoming election is expected to set the stage for the return of former PM Benjamin Netanyahu. It is also Israel’s fifth election in just three years due to the fragile coalition government.
Said short-lived coalition government announced earlier this week its plans to dissolve the Parliament and call for a new election. Israel’s four previous polls between 2019 and 2021 focused on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule the country while facing serious corruption charges. However, the former PM always denied the allegations.
Netanyahu is the longest-serving leader in Israel, serving as PM from 2009 to 2021.
As mentioned, the government is looking to submit a bill next week that would dissolve Parliament. Once the bill passes, PM Naftali Bennet will step down and according to sources, Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, will become interim PM of Israel.
Why does Israel have so many elections?
Israel’s form of electoral system is that of a Proportional Representation Party List which means the people of Israel do not vote for an individual, but they vote for a party. Historically speaking, Israel only needed you to get enough votes for one seat for your party to be allowed in the Knesset, but that has since been upgraded to four seats.
Currently, the Knesset is split between two groups. One is a completely pro-Netanyahu party and the other is the exact opposite. This is because of things such as the split between religious parties and secular parties.
For example, we can use Yisrael Beiteinu. They’re the advocacy party for Jews from the former Soviet Union. The group is economically right-wing but is very secular because the Soviet Jews were banned from practicing religion in the Soviet Union. Ultimately, this makes them a major swing party.
In 2019, the group was first in the series of five elections by leaving the Netanyahu coalition in protest over the religious parties gaining power. This led them to join the opposition and became a major key in the new Lapid-Bennett Coalition.
Yamina, Bennet’s party, is also right-wing religious and that is part of the collapse of the coalition. They don’t like Netanyahu due to his opinion on ministerial roles. Bennet himself can sort of be thought of as a Jewish Mitt Romney. They share a lot of the same religious right-wing pragmatist ideas. Yamina joined the coalition because Bennett was made a temporary PM in a rotation agreement (the PM switches after x amount of time). However, his party seemed to never fully agree with this decision and 1 member even left to join Netanyahu.
Right-wing groups aren’t the only thing within the collapsing coalition. There are social Democrats, Socialist Democrats, Centrist Parties, Center Left Parties, and Palestinian Parties. In the grand scheme, this was a coalition of everyone who doesn't want Netanyahu to be PM.