Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett on the march, April 21, 2021.

Yamina party chairman Naftali Bennett said Thursday after a private meeting between his faction and that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud that a “Shinui – government of change” for Israel is finished.

Given the current security situation in the country, and particularly the “state of emergency” that has developed in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, Bennett said the Israeli government with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid that was planned by them both isn’t viable.

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A coalition with the Islamist Ra’am party cannot deal with the current unrest, he said.

A police officer in Ramle was shot by rioting Arabs at a junction in the city of Ramle. A 19-year-old IDF soldier was also injured after having been attacked by rioting Arabs in Jaffa (Yafo), part of greater Tel Aviv.

Two Jewish men were wounded by rioting Arabs in Lod, one in serious condition and the other less so. In Akko, some 20 Jewish-owned bed & breakfasts were torched and burned to the ground. In Haifa, violence returned Thursday as well. And by Thursday night, the violence had spread to the streets of coastal Ashkelon in the south.

According to a report by Israel’s Channel 12 News, Bennett has made a deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas to support Netanyahu’s bid to hold direct elections for prime minister.

In return, Bennett and Yamina No. 2 Ayelet Shaked will both receive spots on the Likud electoral slate. They will become, respectively, Israel’s defense and foreign ministers.

In response to Bennett’s decision, Lapid issued a televised statement Thursday night, saying he “understands” Bennett’s concerns, but that “he errs.”

“Davka facing the chaos . . . and the anarchy, we must build a government of change,” Lapid said.

“I still have 20 days more to build a coalition and I will do so. If I don’t succeed, we will go to a fifth round of elections.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.