Silman has quit the coalition — could Netanyahu’s Likud return to power?

Benjamin Netanyahu attends a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, on January 19, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu attends a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, on January 19, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Now that Idit Silman has resigned from the government and is reportedly set to join Likud in the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party has three potential paths for its possible return to power.

The first option would be for it to pass a law to dissolve the Knesset. To pass, this would require the support of at least 61 of the 120 members of Knesset.

The bill would therefore necessitate the widespread backing of the current opposition, including members of the six-strong Joint List of Arab lawmakers, and the support of some lawmakers not currently in the opposition, for example Silman and rebel Yamina MK Amichai Chikli.

With the Knesset in recess, scheduling a vote on such a bill is thought to be unlikely before Passover at the end of next week, but could be arranged soon after that.

(If such a bill were to pass, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid would be automatically appointed prime minister for the transition period through new elections and the establishment and swearing-in of a new government.)

The second option would be for Likud to form an alternative government in the current 24th Knesset, although it appears it would struggle to do so — Likud has 29 seats, Religious Zionism has seven, Shas has nine and United Torah Judaism has seven — a total of 52.

Even if Yamina were to split apart, and Silman and Shikli were able to convince other defectors to join them, such as Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Nir Orbach, that would only take a Likud-led bloc to 56 seats out of the 120-member Knesset. It would still need further support from within the current coalition ranks, such as, potentially, disaffected members of Benny Gantz’s eight-strong Blue and White party.

The final and third path it could take is currently irrelevant: It could prevent the passing of a budget thus causing the coalition to fall; however, that option will only be possible next year.

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