For the fifth time since 2019, Israel will hold a national election to choose a prime minister. The election is expected to take place this fall.
The announcement comes after the coalition that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid formed last year lost its parliamentary majority after several politicians left their coalition. The coalition comprised eight diverse political parties from the national religious Yamina, to secular Yesh Atid, left-wing Meretz and the Muslim Arab Ma’an. The ruling government had 61 Knesset members to the opposition’s 59 – the minimum to maintain a parliamentary majority.
Almost lost amid the announcement was the ascendance of Yair Lapid to the prime minister’s post. Lapid took office last Friday, and already met with French President Emmanuel Macron this week in Paris. Macron said that Israelis are “lucky” to have him as prime minister.
Lapid, who leads Israel’s Yesh Atid Party, previously worked as an actor, songwriter, journalist and popular TV host. His late father, Tommy Lapid, was also a Knesset member and journalist.
The upcoming election signals Israel’s electorate is still polarized and divided. Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already begun campaigning to reclaim his seat in power. Netanyahu is facing fraud charges in three court cases against him, including allegations of bribery.
While few praised the Bennett-Lapid coalition as a perfect union, the government was surprisingly effective over the last year. It defended Israel from thousands of Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza; it attacked Iranian strongholds in Syria, preventing shipments of arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and also conducted cyber warfare in Iran to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. At home, the coalition was able to pass a national budget – a first for the country in nearly four years.
Israel is facing similar issues to America: a divided country dealing with inflation, a battle for truth in the Knesset and the media, religious and homegrown extremists, and rising real estate costs that prevent millennials and others from buying an apartment. It also is dealing with a slew of Palestinian terror attacks in recent months, and constant threats from Iran. With so much at stake, it needs leaders who can be decisive and somehow unite the electorate. Given the current political climate, though, we should expect more annual elections.