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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has floated the idea of ​​taking a break from political life and not running in the upcoming elections, according to Israeli television reports on Wednesday.

Public broadcaster Kan reported that Bennett raised the idea in a meeting with other members of his Yamina party, but said he had not made a final decision.

The prime minister did not address the matter publicly.

Yamina MKs reportedly urged Bennett to make a decision quickly, tying her fate to his. According to Kan’s report, they are also likely to walk away if Bennett does.

The Knesset passed a preliminary reading of a bill on Wednesday to dissolve it. Once it passes the necessary legislative hurdles, Israel will move on to its fifth election since 2019 and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become interim prime minister until a new government is formed. Bennett would then replace Lapid as deputy prime minister.

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Polls aired on network TV on Tuesday showed that Bennett’s Yamina would win just four to five seats, compared to the seven the party won in the 2021 election, which could play an important role in encouraging the prime minister. outgoing minister to hand over the reins of his party.

Yamina MK Nir Orbach, leading a Knesset House Committee meeting, 21, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Channel 13 reported Wednesday that before Bennett decided the prospect of saving the coalition was over, his representatives offered to name Yamina rebel Nir Orbach to a powerful position of his choosing in exchange for resign from the Knesset.

Orbach would have been offered the presidency of Mifal HaPais, Israel’s national lottery, or to serve as director general of Keren Hayesod, the country’s official fundraising body.

Orbach apparently rejected the proposal, citing his personal values.

Yamina’s lawmaker recently dropped his support for the government, citing the refusal of coalition MKs who refused to support crucial legislation that applies Israeli law to Israeli citizens living in the West Bank; the decision left the government with a parliamentary minority.

Bennett was first elected to the Knesset after leading the Jewish House party to 12 seats in the 2013 elections. He went on to serve as a minister in governments led by Netanyahu.

He failed to cross the electoral threshold with his New Right party in the April 2019 elections, but was given a second chance when another round of elections was held in September of that year, regaining a Knesset seat as part of the Yamina faction.

After the 2021 elections, Bennett broke with his former ally Netanyahu and formed a historic and diverse unity government, with himself as prime minister. The coalition has crumbled under the weight of defections in recent months, many from his own party, due to ideological divisions with coalition partners.

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