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Coalition crisis intensifies as Ben Gvir considers continued boycott of Cabinet meetings

Ultra-Orthodox parties have also expressed frustration with the government for not keeping coalition agreements

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir attends a ceremony of the Israeli Border Police in Latrun, May 2, 2023. (Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and another minister from his Jewish Power party did not attend Sunday's scheduled government Cabinet session, nor did they show up for a meeting of coalition heads. Their lack of participation was intended to be a sign of protest, according to sources.

Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power party may reportedly withdraw from the coalition government, removing six of their 64 seats in the Knesset.

The right-wing party has been critical of the government's failure to implement promises made during the last election, such as judicial reform. They have also condemned the government’s failure to conduct the targeted elimination of terrorists, nor to respond to terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, including recent rocket attacks launched at Israel from Gaza by the ruling Hamas terrorist group. In addition, Ben Gvir criticized Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for releasing three Lion's Den terrorists' bodies to the Palestinian Authority.

Jewish Power announced a boycott of the Knesset voting session last week in protest against the "lax response in Gaza" and has vowed to continue abstaining until more right-wing policies are adopted.

"This government is a right-wing government, and the public did not give us a mandate to return the bodies of terrorists or to refrain from bombing Gaza. It is not too late to lead a powerful and offensive security policy. Jewish Power will continue to be absent from votes until the Israeli government changes direction and begins to uphold the policy for which it was elected," Ben-Gvir declared.

Last week, Israel’s United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas political parties expressed frustration with the government for not keeping coalition agreements.

Meir Porush of the UTJ party complained that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked them to pass a budget before voting on the draft exemption law or resuming judicial reform legislation.

"We want the draft law before the budget and an override clause in 61 [votes]. If he can't, let him go home," Porush said.

On Thursday, Shas spokesperson Asher Medina complained, “The Knesset’s summer session opened this week, and the world goes on as usual. The criminal plot to remove the chairman of the Shas party from the government continues, and there is no redress?”

Medina noted that the Shas party should boycott any further voting until the so-called “Deri Law” was passed.

“The Ministerial Appointment Law, which stopped at the end of the winter session, should have been the first to be placed on the Knesset table this week, and our Knesset members should have announced in a clear voice: We are not voting on anything until this law passes in three readings. Period," Medina said.

Shas leader Aryeh Deri prefers not to cause problems for the coalition and has remained silent about the issue.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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