“We have a country that needs to run,” Bennett said in a televised joint statement with Lapid, just as the lights in the press room turned off for a moment.
“What a symbol,” Lapid said.
Bennett and Lapid said earlier that they did “stressful choices to stabilize” their coalition, made up of an ideological landscape of parties — including left-wing peace activists, right-wing supporters of settlers and, for the first time in Israel’s history, an Arab Islamist party — that united a year ago in their desire to overthrow then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For weeks, that coalition was teetering on the brink of collapse as three members, including two from Bennett’s own right-wing right-wing party, defected, stripping the government of its majority and ability to pass legislation.
To hasten the coalition’s demise earlier this month, Netanyahu – the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history – rallied his party and other normally pro-settler opposition lawmakers to vote on a normally indisputable measure that would allow civil law to be applied to Israelis. settlers in the occupied West Bank. Bennett said in the televised statement that the expiration of the West Bank law would have led to “damage to Israel’s security and the consequent chaos that I cannot allow.”
The dissolution of the Knesset, expected next week, means an automatic renewal of the law.
“This is good news for millions of Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said in a video post on Twitter. “A government that will restore national pride to the citizens of Israel, so you can walk the streets with your heads held high.”
What we have to do today is to return to the concept of Israeli unity. “Not to allow dark forces to tear us apart from within,” Lapid said in the televised statement, referring to the division that has intensified during Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure.
This development comes a week after President Biden announced plans for a July 14 visit to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia. And Israeli media reported that Biden’s visit would take place as planned, and said that he would meet with Lapid.
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