Lapid Becomes Prime Minister After Knesset Finally Dissolves


Yair Lapid seen during a session at the plenum at the Knesset, Thursday morning. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Yair Lapid became Israel’s 15th Prime Minister on Thursday, to head a caretaker government that will be in place until a new one is established, after the 24th Knesset voted to dissolve, sending the country to snap elections in November.

With a 92-seat majority vote, the MKs finally allowed the vote to proceed after days of political squabbles.

Yisrael Beytenu and the Labor parties boycotted the vote in protest of the right-wing block’s refusal to allow an infrastructure bill to pass.

“Small politics prevented the bill from passing,” Labor leader Merav Michaeli said.

Another bill that was not completed was the change to the law that would allow Israel to inform American authorities of people involved in criminal or security violations who are U.S. bound.

Without the amendment, Israel cannot comply with necessary obligations that would allow it to be included in the Visa Waiver Program that would negate the need to obtain a tourist visa to the U.S. ahead of travel.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Tom Nides appealed to members of the opposition Likud party to allow the bill to pass but his request remained unanswered.

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the plenum that the outgoing government failed in its short term and brought about a deterioration in the personal safety of Israelis and a diminishing of the national pride.

Netanyahu slammed the government for partnering with the Ra’am party in their coalition despite what theRa’am leader said was a willingness on the part of the Likud leader to bring the Arab party into a coalition he attempted to form.

MK Mansour Abbas disrupted Netanyahu during his speech when he said his government would not join with Ra’am in a coalition.

The opposition leader then turned to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy and said Abbas should be removed from the plenum.

Elections are slated for Nov. 1, the fifth general election in Israel in the past three and a half years and only a little over 18 months since the last elections. The latest polls show that Netanyahu has the best chance to establish a government, but with a long campaign period of 124 days, much can change.

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