Coalition Official: Evacuation of Chomesh May Be Final Nail in Coalition’s Coffin

Visitors walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated community of Chomesh. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

A coalition official warned Wednesday that if the dismantled community of Chomesh will be evacuated as ordered by the court, it will be the final nail in the coffin of the ramshackle government.

The official told Yediot that if Defense Minister Benny Gantz does not appeal the decision of the High Court and goes ahead with the evacuation, the right-wing members of the coalition will have no choice but to resign from the government, effectively triggering its dissolution.

In the past 24 hours, senior coalition members, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Nir Orbach, both from the Yamina party, have been in contact with Gantz ahead of his appeal to the court, which has to be submitted by next week.

According to coalition officials, MK Orbach has said behind closed doors that evacuation of the community would be a “red line” for the right-wing elements in the government.

“Those who are familiar with Orbach know such an event will surely lead to his withdrawal,” a coalition official said. Orbach refused to immediately comment on the remarks.

Gantz has apparently not made a decision on which position to take during his appeal, and sources within his political party argued that some of the threats from the right were intended to try and influence his final choice.

In his appeal to the court, Gantz can potentially back the immediate evacuation of Chomesh, in which case the coalition will likely fall apart. However, the defense minister also has the option of ordering the evacuation without setting a timeline, thus buying some time and avoiding a political crisis.

A Blue and White member accused Tuesday the Yamina party of deliberately hinting at the coalition’s demise in the event that Chomesh is evacuated, thus making Gantz responsible for the government’s overthrow.

Some coalition officials claimed Tuesday that the crisis over Chomesh is significant, but at the same time, senior members of the right-wing party are negotiating with Gantz to try and reach an agreement on the issue.

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