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The Israeli government, which has been embroiled in a war against Hamas in Gaza and in skirmishes against other terror groups, now faces internal pressure with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lead opposition party filing a motion that could potentially remove him.
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid filed a no-confidence motion against the coalition government on Wednesday, initiating the process that could result in the Israeli Knesset finding new leadership, Tazpit Press Service reported. This is the first no-confidence motion since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas, which crossed 100 days on Sunday.
According to the report, the motion comes after the government passed a 55 billion shekel ($14.5 billion) budget on Monday that included a supplemental package of 9 billion shekels ($2.4 billion) for reservists, the regular army and their families.
“This government cannot continue to exist. It is a failure that costs human lives and the future of the country,” Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party said, arguing the budget “favors unnecessary offices and coalition funds over aid to evacuees, reservists and to strengthening the sense of security.”
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Netanyahu said on October 28 that fighting inside the Gaza Strip would be “long and difficult” as Israeli ground forces operate in the Palestinian territory for more than 24 hours. (ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Yesh Atid Party said that the “shameless” budget was the result of internal fighting and that petty politics was preventing the current coalition government from serving the needs of the Israeli people.
“While the members of the cabinet are busy with quarrels and politics instead of the management of the war, the government approved a shameless budget,” it said, TPS reported.
The Labor Party, which has just a few members, announced it will also file a motion of no confidence as early as next week.
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“It’s been 103 days that our sons and daughters have been held captive by Hamas; 103 days that the State of Israel is torn between Israel and Gaza. And the government doesn’t care at all,” the Labor Party said. “There is no trust in a government that doesn’t do everything to bring them back. There is no trust in a government that does not put the abducted as the first order of priority.”
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks at the Israeli parliament during a new government sworn in discussion at the Israeli parliament on December 29, 2022, in Jerusalem, Israel. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)
“This is a government that cares about its own corrupt interests and not those who give their lives for it. This is a government in which there is no confidence. It should be overthrown.”
The no-confidence vote allows members to vote whether or not they have trust in the current leading coalition. Should this vote fail, the legislative body would enter negotiations to form a new coalition and potentially elect a new leader.
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The votes come immediately after the ruling Likud Party announced Knesset members may again bring private bills, TPS reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, during his official visit as part of Middle East Tour, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 9, 2024. (Kobi Gideon (GPO) / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Previously, this process was skirted by the war effort and the leading coalition’s effort to fast-track legislation to aid the war effort. The restriction was lifted on January 17.
Netanyahu survived a pair of no-confidence votes in March 2023.
The no-confidence motions were in protest over Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan. One motion failed by a vote of 59-53, the second failed 60-51.
Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.