Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition suffered several significant political defeats on Wednesday evening at the Knesset’s plenum when it lost in eight votes to the opposition.
The Islamist Ra’am party, a member of the Coalition, announced earlier in the day it was boycotting the votes with coalition over KKL-JNF’s planting trees in the Negev.
The coalition relies on a slim majority of 61, and any small change means they don’t have a guaranteed majority in the Knesset.
After realizing they did not have a majority, the Coalition abandoned the plenum, withdrew its proposed laws, and lost to the opposition which passed eight laws one after the other in a preliminary reading.
The bills will be passed on for discussion at the various Knesset committees, where they are expected to be blocked by the coalition, which dominates the committees.
Member of Knesset Yariv Levin (Likud), the opposition’s coordinator, said in response to the sequence of victories that “today it has been proven again – the current government is a government of chaos. With the Corona, the Negev, and also in the Knesset. Zero management, zero leadership. We will replace this government, and get the state administration back on track.”
Political pundits noted that they can’t remember such a landslide defeat for the coalition.
Journalist Dafna Liel said that the incident is “a very problematic precedent for the coalition that to date has lost mainly due to a mess and absences, and not due to a deliberate boycott of a party.”
Pundit Yaakov Rivlin estimated that “the first crack in the coalition since its formation has opened today. That does not mean it will fall tomorrow or the day after. But that means the countdown has begun.”
Political analyst Tal Schneider crowned the incident as “an unprecedented event in remembered history: the coalition without a majority has abandoned the place and the opposition is passing laws, one after the other.”
“This does not mean that these bills will be crystallized into laws because there are committees and more votes, but it is a complete meltdown of the 36th government,” she added.