Israel Headed to Fourth Election in Two Years

Stand for Israel  |  December 23, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves after a speech at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem on December 22, 2020. (Photo by Yonathan SINDEL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YONATHAN SINDEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

While the recent United States faced uncertainty heading into this past fall’s election, another isn’t on the way. That’s not the case for America’s friends in Israel, however. The Times of Israel’s Raoul Wootliff reports that the latest Knesset coalition has collapsed, meaning Israelis face their fourth election in just two years:

The 23rd Knesset officially dispersed as the clock struck midnight on Tuesday night and the deadline to approve a 2020 budget expired, sending Israelis to the polls for the fourth time in less than two years. Elections were automatically called for 90 days from now, namely March 23, 2021, though that date could yet be changed by vote.

The failure to pass a budget came just seven months after the swearing-in of the “unity government” between Likud and Blue and White. The two parties, which had fought each other bitterly in three indecisive elections, agreed to form a power-sharing government with a rotating premiership between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in May.

But despite pledges to put aside their differences in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the political turmoil followed them into government, with both leaders soon claiming the other was breaking their coalition agreements…

Netanyahu, 71, has held power uninterrupted since 2009, and also served a term as prime minister from 1996-1999, making him Israel’s longest-serving leader. He remains in office as head of the transitional government until the elections are held and a new coalition is formed.

On Tuesday night, hours before the Knesset’s dissolution, hailing his own achievements on the coronavirus pandemic and in forging a stream of four new peace deals in the past four months (with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco), Netanyahu insisted he did everything to prevent fresh elections but promised his party would have “a huge win…”

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