Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have agreed to dissolve The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) as early as next week, triggering a new election, the country’s fifth vote in under four years.
Lapid, a former journalist who heads the largest party in the coalition, will in the meantime take over the premiership, according local media reports. Israeli Channel 12 said general elections could be held on October 25.
“We are standing before you today in a moment that is not easy, but with the understanding we made the right decision for Israel,” Bennett said in a televised statement as he stood alongside Lapid.
For his part, Lapid paid tribute to Bennett as a brave and innovative leader.
“What we need to do today is go back to the concept of Israeli unity. Not to let dark forces tear us apart from within,” he said.
The move comes after Bennett could not contain the rising pressure on his fragile ruling coalition of opposites that ended the rule of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu was prime minister for 12 years until Bennett managed to put together a coalition
in June last year. Made up of no fewer than eight political parties, the coalition stretched right across the political spectrum, including for the first time an Arab party, led by Mansour Abbas.
US President Biden will be received by the future prime minister, Yair Lapid, on his visit to Israel next month.