Amid Israeli Political Crisis, PM Bennett Holds Snap Party Meeting: ‘The Bleeding Has Stopped’
Political upheaval continued in Israel on Wednesday, with a stormy meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and members of his Yamina party ending with optimistic statements from insiders.
Both Yamina and the government were rocked by the sudden, morning resignation of Knesset member Idit Silman. The ruling coalition, which previously had a majority of 61 backers in the 120-seat parliament, is now down to just 60 seats.
With rumors flying of more possible defections, Bennett held a snap meeting with Yamina coalition members at his office in a bid to head off a mass exodus.
The meeting was a stormy one, with MK Nir Orbach blasting Bennett for his recent use of the term “West Bank” instead of the Hebrew name “Judea and Samaria,” Israeli news site N12 reported.
“It is unthinkable that you used the expression ‘West Bank,’” Orbach reportedly told Bennett. “This is unconnected to the rest of the parties in the coalition. It is simply to pay a price to our ideological home. You put me in an impossible situation.”
Despite this, sources within Yamina told N12 that the gathering was successful and “the bleeding has stopped.”
Before the meeting, however, a Yamina member reportedly said that Bennett and other heads of the coalition are “living in a movie” — a Hebrew expression for living in a fantasy world — and do not understand the gravity of the situation.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu moved quickly to exploit the coalition crisis, saying to lawmakers “whose heart is in the right place — we are waiting for you.”
“We will receive you with honor, we will receive you with appreciation,” he said, and urged them to “save Israel from a government of weakness.”