Israeli gov't determined to stay in power amid legislator's exit, says co-chair
Too early to 'mourn' coalition's dissolution, says Yair Lapid after lawmaker's resignation plunges it into uncertainty
Israel's ruling coalition does not intend to surrender despite recently becoming a minority government, its foreign minister and alternate premier declared on Friday.
Striking an assertive tone, Yair Lapid tweeted that it was still too early to "mourn" the government's dissolution, admitting, however, that it was in a shaky situation after left-wing lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi exited the coalition on Thursday over its harassment of Palestinians.
Lapid underlined that the there was no intention for the government to surrender and give former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, currently heading the opposition, the chance to "destroy the country."
Along with sitting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Lapid is co-chairing the government, which was established under a rotation agreement in June 2021 that would see the foreign minister assume the premiership from August 2023 until November 2025.
He said efforts were ongoing to persuade Zoabi, an Arab lawmaker from the leftist Meretz Party, to reverse her decision. According to the official Public Broadcasting Corporation network (KAN), however, she is insistent on her position.
Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party already announced plans to bring a no-confidence motion to parliament next Wednesday.
For the motion to pass, it will need four rounds of voting, a procedure that might take weeks, after which the parliament will be dissolved and Israelis will go to elections for the fifth time in three years.
The ruling Bennett-Lapid coalition was formed of 61 Knesset members, comprising eight Israeli parties, in June 2021. Zoabi's withdrawal puts it on the brink of collapse, now down to 59 members in the 120-seat Knesset.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar