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Tel Aviv
Thursday brought a fresh setback for Israel’s fragile eight-party government coalition, with a parliamentarian from the left-wing Meretz party pulling out in protest at authorities’ treatment of Palestinians.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is left with a minority of 59 of the 120 seats in parliament. The opposition, led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could theoretically bring about a dissolution of parliament and a new election.
Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi tendered her resignation from the coalition citing, among other things, the actions of the Israeli police during recent confrontations on the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) complex in Jerusalem.
Zoabi was also shaken by police violence at the funeral of a slain reporter for the TV channel Al-Jazeera, she wrote in her resignation letter.
“I cannot continue to support the existence of such a coalition, which so shamefully harasses the society from which I come,” the Arab MP wrote.
Bennett’s government already lost its wafer-thin majority in the Knesset last month because a member of the Yamina party resigned.
Nevertheless, it survived two no-confidence votes.
Next Wednesday, the opposition could introduce a bill dissolving parliament. If it fails, however, the move would be blocked for six months.
Even if it succeeds, three more readings would be necessary, in which the opposition would need the votes of at least 61 of 120 lawmakers.
Bennett’s government was sworn in in June last year, ending a political crisis in Israel, which had seen four elections within two years.
The coalition was supported by a total of eight parties from the right to the left of the spectrum - including for the first time an Arab party.
Due to confrontations of Israeli security forces with Palestinians on the Noble Sanctuary, Arab party Ra’am temporarily suspended its membership in the coalition last month.
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