The dramatic resignation of MK Idit Silman (Yamina) from the Lapid-Bennett coalition Wednesday came as no surprise for the Likud party, which, according to reports, has been luring her away for weeks now. Silman will reportedly be given the tenth spot on the Likud slot, come the next election, and the post of Health Minister should Likud establish the next government.
The promises come with a condition, however: Silman must get a third Yamina MK to go AWOL with her and MK Amichai Chikli to form a new faction, otherwise, both Silman and Chikli would be declared rogue deserters by their party and would not be eligible to run with any party in the next election.
MK Nir Orbach, who was one of the biggest opponents of Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett’s move to form a government with Yair Lapid, has been under tremendous pressure in recent weeks to call it quits and seek his future in the Likud. Deputy Minister Abir Kara is another potential deserter, although he has reason to fear an intensified police investigation of his double-voting scandal (last July, Kara voted twice – once for himself and once for MK Silman – on a bill to regulate unpaid vacations during the Corona). Israel Police is notorious for reopening dormant cases when the political situation calls for it. Kara is going the restrain himself.
Ayelet Shaked has reportedly not been approached by the Likud, although she has been unhappy with the current government since its inception. According to News12, Shaked and Orbach were summoned by Bennett for meetings on Wednesday. Bennett and Shaked have maintained the most resilient and long-lasting partnership in Israel’s politics, and, clearly, if Shaked walks, Bennet should start looking for a nice box for his belongings.
Forming an alternative government in the current Knesset will require the support of 61 MKs for a no-confidence motion, to be followed by a vote of confidence of 61 in the new government. Assuming that the Joint Arab List will not support a new government headed by Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, the opposition would have to recruit seven MKs from the coalition. For now, the likelihood of this happening is low – but definitely not impossible.
There can also be a motion to disperse the Knesset, after May 8, when the Knesset comes back from spring break. If that happens, Yair Lapid will automatically become prime minister of a caretaker government, based on his coalition agreement with Bennett.
Should there be another election round, there’s no reason to expect different results, unless Netanyahu concedes that he is unable to attract two right-wing parties – Yamina and New Hope – and agree to allow another Likud politician to take the helm. There’s also the issue of his ongoing trial, a relentless nightmare that won’t go away.