Israeli MK quits coalition over chametz argument with health minister

Idit Silman has joined Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party


Idit Silman, head of the Health Committee leads a Health Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on February 28, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ???? ??????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????

The governing coalition of Israel has lost its majority in the Knesset after conservative MK Idit Silman, resigned from her role.

Backbencher Silman resigned from the governing coalition currently led by Prime minister Naftali Bennett citing her belief that a “national, Jewish and Zionist government" should be leading Israel.

Silman has joined the opposition Likud party, currently led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This defection comes after Silman criticised health minister Nitzan Horowitz, a member of the Meretz party, for lifting a ban on chametz in hospitals during Pesach to comply with an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that

During a Knessest meeting, MK Silman voiced her anger at the move, saying: "People in the Holocaust fasted on Passover so as not to eat chametz, and a minister in the State of Israel within a coalition like ours, unfortunately, intends to introduce chametz.

"The people of Israel have certain values that entire generations have died over, and we in the current government will not be part of their overthrow and we must respect the public."

The resignation of MK Silman means that the coalition now holds exactly 60 seats in the Knesset, meaning that it cannot pass laws or approve budgets without having the support of opposition party members.

In talks with Netanyahu, Silman was reportedly promised to be a candidate for the Likud party for the next election and, if he forms a government, then she would be given the role of health minister.

Netanyahu has also called for other MKs to follow in the steps of Silman and abandon the coalition, saying “You will be received with all due respect and open arms.”

The Likud leader said that MK Silman's defection from Bennett's ruling party was spurred by “a concern for the Jewish identity of the State of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

Whilst the resignation of the MK does not see the Israel governing coalition fall, it puts the coalition in a precarious position, unable to enact policies without support from other parties. The defection of MK Silman has also led to fears Israelis could face another election, the fifth since 2019.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive