Israel is in political turmoil after its parliament voted to dissolve itself a month after it was sworn in.
Just seven weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a convincing victory in national elections, he suffered a major political setback.
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, voted for new elections in September after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government amid infighting and high demands from smaller parties. Netanyahu, a right-wing conservative who has been in power for a decade, is furious.
He said he did everything in his power to avoid what he described as an “unnecessary” election, especially since the public gave him a strong vote of confidence in the April polls.
The developments are a shock because two elections in the same year are unprecedented, even in Israel’s volatile political landscape.
“Never did we encounter a situation whereby a government was not formed immediately after the elections, so our surprise is well earned,” said Yohanan Plessner, a former Knesset member who heads the Israel Democracy Institute. Plessner.said Netanyahu is facing possible indictments in three corruption scandals, and that made him subject to "political blackmail" from coalition partners.
“The degrees of freedom for maneuver were extremely limited because he couldn’t lure any partners from the center; so that caused both the ultra-Orthodox and the other right-wing parties to raise the price, realizing that Netanyahu has no options,” said Plessner.
The political turmoil comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to unveil a Mideast peace plan. The Palestinians have already rejected the plan for failing to meet their national aspirations; while in Israel, it will be many months before there is a stable government able to consider any concessions to the Palestinians.