Coalition Takes Vengence on Renegade MK Silman

By Shmuel Smith

Yesh Atid MK Boaz Toporovsky making a speech in the Knesset (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – The long arm of the Bennett-Lapid coalition reached out on Monday to take vengeance on former Yamina MK Idit Silman, blocking her path to run with another party in the November 1 election.

“Silman will get what she deserves,” shouted Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker Yulia Malinovsky after she, along with Labor MK Emilie Moatti and Yesh Atid MK Boaz Toporovsky and Moshe Tur Paz voted down Silman’s request for approval from the Knesset House Committee to leave Yamina without sanctions. The decision was 4-3.

Without Knesset approval, Silman will have to resign from the Knesset by September 15 to be eligible to run with another party in the upcoming election.

Animosity toward Silman stems from her surprise resignation from the coalition, where she served as whip, which led to its eventual demise, as it deprived it of its parliamentary majority. She quit over various differences, political and religious, that she had with the left-wing members of the coalition, Meretz and Labor.

At the same committee session, the departures from Yamina of former prime minister Naftali Bennett and MKs Matan Kahana and Shirly Pinto were approved, allowing them to run on other party’s slates without resigning from the Knesset. As a threesome from seven MKs comprising the same party, they can form a new faction in the current Knesset, without sanctions.

Yamina, under its new leader Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, merged with the Derech Eretz faction to form the Zionist Spirit slate. Kahana plans to run with the newly formed National Unity party, while Pinto hasn’t yet announced her plans.

Bennett, as announced last month, will not run in the upcoming election and will take a break from politics indefinitely.

The sanction on Silman will thwart a plan attributed to opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu to put her in the seventh place on the Religious Zionism ticket, which has been a point of contention threatening to derail the alliance between Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, as reported on Army Radio. Silman, apparently, would have been acceptable to both.

Prospects for a resolution to the dispute over the joint electoral list (Smotrich’s Religious Zionism and Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit) seemed bleak as of Monday morning. MK Simcha Rothman from the Religious Zionism faction told Radio 103FM: “Unfortunately, right now it doesn’t seem like there is a desire on the other side, so it doesn’t really depend only on what we want,” said Rothman.

He added that, “Ben Gvir was an integral part of our faction. We acted as a united faction. The public saw that and liked it and is asking for this unity. Therefore we must do everything to ensure that we run together.”

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