As Yamina continues to disintegrate, following lengthy meetings with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, MK Nir Orbach announced Thursday that if his demands are not met, he would disperse the government by joining the opposition. At this point, with coalition and opposition each possessing 60 seats, all it takes is one MK to switch sides.
So, what are Orbach’s ultimatums? The first one is the abolition of the outline of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s policy on daycare centers for the children of Haredi Kolel students. Reportedly, forcing low-income Haredi couples out of subsidized daycare has constituted a great hardship.
The second is convening the Supreme Planning Commission to approve construction in Judea and Samaria. Under a directive from the Biden administration, the commission’s activity has been suspended indefinitely, creating a devastating construction freeze in the settlements.
And the last issue is connecting the “young settlements” (code for “illegal” outposts) to electricity. Earlier, when the illegal Bedouin settlements in the Negev received their connection to the electricity grid, there was talk that Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria would enjoy the same benefits. But nothing has been done so far, and, in fact, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue & White) and Internal Security Omer Barlev (Labor) have been on the warpath against the Jewish settlements, blaming them for the violence in the territories and scheming to uproot them.
MK Orbach threatened Bennett that “without a solution to these issues I will not be able to remain in the coalition.”
If Bennett can’t read the writing on the wall, he’s going to be the most surprised prime minister in Israeli history.
By the way, one Israeli politician who stands to gain from the collapse of the Bennett government in under one year (it was sworn in on June 13, 2021) is Ehud Barak. He could, at last, lose his special place in Israel’s history as the prime minister with the shortest record at the helm: from July 6, 1999, to March 7, 2001 (19 months). Bennett is at 9 months now, but enjoys the advantage of the Knesset spring break ending May 8. Still, the odds makers in Vegas would probably give you 5 to 1 he won’t survive the race to the bottom.