Middle East

Arab Knesset members back government against opposition no-confidence motion

The Joint List, a coalition of three Arab political parties in Israel, has voted with the government against a no-confidence motion submitted by opposition parties, including Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, Yedioth Ahronoth has reported.

The voting on the motion of no confidence against the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was held in the Israeli Knesset — parliament — on Monday. According to the newspaper, Bennett’s governing coalition staved off the motion after 61 MKs voted against, with 52 voting in favour.

Notably, the United Arab List, which is a member of the coalition government and has four Knesset seats, was not present during the voting session. The Joint List, which is not a member of the coalition but has six seats in parliament, justified its decision by saying that the intention was to block Netanyahu from returning to power. In a statement issued after the vote, the bloc insisted that it only acts in the interests of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel.

Bennett’s coalition has lost its parliamentary majority following the withdrawal of figures from his right-wing nationalist Yamina Party, most notably coalition leader Idit Silman. Former Prime Minister Netanyahu seeks to attract another member of the coalition to bring down Bennett’s government and force an early General Election.

The crisis facing Bennett is exacerbated by the risk of losing the support of the United Arab List, headed by Mansour Abbas. The bloc froze its support for the government, following protests against the ongoing police aggression at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem.

The Knesset has 120 members — MKs —shared equally by the government and the opposition after Silman’s withdrawal from the coalition. Eight parties from across the political spectrum in Israel formed the government coalition in June last year.

READ: Israel to build 4,000 new settlement units in occupied West Bank

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