Rebel MK from Bennett’s party quits coalition, leaving minority gov’t

Bennett: “We have a week or week two to settle the problems in the coalition.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Yamina MK Nir Orbach announced on Monday that he is quitting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s teetering coalition. The move now leaves Bennett with a minority government of 59 Knesset seats.

“After a week of meetings with the Prime Minister and other parties, I came to the conclusion that the coalition could not continue to exist in its current conduct,” Orbach said in a statement.

Orbach said he was dissatisfied that the government was being propped up by the left-wing Meretz and the Arab Ra’am parties.

He called out Arab coalition partners Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) and Mazen Ghanaim (Ra’am) as “extremist, anti-Zionist elements,” accusing them of taking the government in “in problematic directions” and “holding it hostage.”

However, Orbach added that he would not support a vote to disperse the Knesset and hold new elections, saying that would harm the country’s stability.

In breaking with Bennett, Orbach joins Yamina MKs Amichai Chikli and Idit Silman.

Bennett, in response, said that the coalition likely wouldn’t last longer than two weeks if the three MKs don’t end their rebellion.

“We have a week or week two to settle the problems in the coalition and then we can last a long time to continue the good we are doing,” Bennett said, before adding, “But if we don’t succeed, we won’t be able to continue.”

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Orbach’s announcement happened to fall on the one-year anniversary of the government being sworn in.