(Photo credit: I24News)
Israel is headed for its fifth election in four years after lawmakers voted unilaterally to dissolve the Knesset on 30 June.
The landmark vote puts an end to the year-long coalition government led by outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Lawmakers established 1 November as the day for new elections.
On 1 July, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will take over as caretaker prime minister and will hold the post through the elections and until a new ruling coalition is formed.
Speaking to media on 29 June, Bennett announced his plans to step away from politics.
Just before the vote to end the current government, Speaker Mickey Levy called the ill-fated 24th Knesset “polarized” and said that hatred within it had “reached new heights.”
“This Knesset was a very complex Knesset. A polarized Knesset that operated during a change of government, in which an opposition became a coalition and a coalition became an opposition,” Levy said.
“Unfortunately, the abusive discourse and hatred have also reached heights that we did not know in this house,” he added.
Bennett’s coalition government had been on the ropes for months, finally collapsing just over a year after it unseated former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in power.
Last week, Netanyahu hailed the impending collapse of the government as “great tidings” for millions of Israelis, and said he would form “a broad nationalist government headed by Likud.”
“A government that depended on supporters of terrorism, which abandoned the personal safety of Israeli citizens, which raised the cost of living to heights we haven’t seen, which instated needless taxes, which put our country’s Jewish character at risk – this government is going home,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu has been waiting in the wings for new elections, reportedly working to capture the extremist vote under the slogan “the Arabs are taking over the country.”
However, an early opinion poll posted on 21 June showed that no political bloc is likely to gain a majority of 61 seats to form a stable government.
According to the poll, carried out by radio station 103FM, the Netanyahu bloc is predicted to gain 59 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.
The poll also showed increased support for Jewish supremacist groups, such as the Religious Zionist Party led by Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir.