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Likud said preparing to bring Knesset dispersal bill for preliminary vote this week

Channel 12 says decision won’t be made until last minute; Netanyahu’s party previously considered bill after Meretz MK quit; New Hope members vow not to sit with former premier

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu adresses the Knesset on June 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu adresses the Knesset on June 13, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The opposition’s Likud party may bring a bill to disperse the Knesset and force fresh elections to the plenum floor for a preliminary this week, according to a Saturday television report.

According to Channel 12 news, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party is preparing to bring such a bill for a vote on Wednesday, but the report said a decision would likely not be made until the last moment.

If successful in a preliminary vote, for which only a simple Knesset majority is required, the bill would need to pass three further Knesset votes with the support of at least 61 of the 120 MKs.

A Knesset dispersal bill is one of three ways to topple the government. The others are a successful no-confidence vote of at least 61 MKs and a government’s failure to pass a timely budget.

The opposition party had previously considered trying for a dispersal bill after Meretz lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi quit the coalition last month, but her swift return to the political alliance made the move unlikely to be successful.

Likud had also planned to bring the bill for a vote in May, but pulled it after the Islamist Ra’am party returned to the coalition’s ranks, killing the opposition’s chances of achieving a simple majority to pass the bill in its preliminary reading.

Likud is reluctant to bring the bill to a vote if it is not assured of a majority, as its failure would mean a similar measure would be blocked for a period of six months.

Yamina MK Nir Orbach announced on June 13 his decision to quit the coalition, dropping the ailing political alliance into the Knesset minority — two seats behind the divided but determined opposition. Orbach said he would not vote to bring down the government in the coming week, however, and would seek to build an alternative government with a “patriotic spirit” in the existing Knesset.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (L) speaks with Yamina MK Nir Orbach at the Knesset on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the predominantly Arab Joint List alliance, said Saturday it would vote in favor of a dispersal bill, though he said the Joint List did not want Netanyahu to lead the country again.

“Our six fingers will vote for the dispersal of the Knesset, against this bad government… We are prepared to do everything to prevent Netanyahu [from returning as PM], but the condition is that we are not party to settlers harming our people, harming the chances of peace in this region,” he told Channel 12.

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh (Hadash) at a Knesset faction meeting on March 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to a Thursday report by the Kan public broadcaster, Bennett discussed the possibility of setting up an alternative government with Netanyahu’s Likud party during a meeting with one of his political advisers in Tel Aviv. Bennett’s Yamina party denied the report.

An alternative government could be set up within the current Knesset, without new elections, if another candidate can muster the support of at least 61 MKs.

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel told the network on Saturday that he would never sit with Netanyahu. He and fellow New Hope MK Zvi Hauser were part of the 2020-21 Netanyahu-led government in which Benny Gantz was alternate prime minister.

“We will not sit with him, Netanyahu’s era in Israel is over,” Hauser said during a Saturday conference in Petah Tikvah. “There is no reason to give an award to someone who prefers personal interests over national interests.”

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