‘Strategy did not work’: Bennett eyeing alternative coalition with right-wing parties – report

The prime minister acknowledges that the current eclectic makeup of the government is alienating his voter base.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Days after former coalition whip Idit Silman’s (Yamina) dramatic announcement that she was resigning from the coalition led by her party head, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the premier has reportedly decided that the current composition of the government is not politically viable.

According to a report by Channel 12 News, Bennett is considering a shift that would see him partner with right-wing parties not currently in the coalition.

He said that heading a government spanning from left to right , including an Islamist party, is failling to achieve results and alienating his party from its voter base.

“We’ve had some good accomplishments, but in the test of results, this strategy did not work,” Bennett was quoted by Channel 12 as saying during closed-door meetings. “And at the end of the day, the responsibility rests with me. Now we need to think about how we can fix this.”

Hebrew-language media reports have suggested that other members of Bennett’s Yamina party, including MKs Abir Kara and Nir Orbach, could bolt the coalition.

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If those lawmakers teamed up with Silman and rebel MK Amichai Chikli, they could potentially form their own faction, which could partner with Likud, Religious Zionism, or the ultra-Orthodox parties that are not part of the governing coalition.

With polls indicating that the majority of the Israeli public is not enthusiastic about a return to the ballot box, which would mark an unprecedented fifth round of national elections in the same number of years, some commentators have said that the wisest political move for Bennett would be to ally with right-wing parties outside the current coalition.

This could be achieved via negotiations and Knesset votes, without the need to dissolve the government entirely and head to the polls once again.

Another option Bennett could take, considering that his coalition has lost its razor-thin majority and is now evenly split with the opposition 60-60, is to rely on outside support from the Arab Joint List party.

Such a move would likely be career suicide, as Bennett has come under heavy criticism for including the Islamist Ra’am party in his government.

Partnering in any way with the anti-Zionist Joint List party, whose chair Ayman Odeh is now under intense scrutiny and facing possible criminal charges after calling for Palestinian flags to fly over Jerusalem, would likely be seen as the ultimate betrayal by Yamina’s nationalist voter base.

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