Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s shaky ruling coalition is moving closer to collapse after a lawmaker with his own coalition said he was leaving the alliance.
"I have informed the prime minister that based on the current situation, I am no longer part of the coalition," Nir Orbach, a member of Knesset (Israeli parliament), said in a statement after quitting Bennett’s team, several Israeli media outlets reported.
The statement expressed concern that, what Orbach called, "extremist and anti-Zionist" MKs had taken the coalition "in problematic directions."
Bennett’s coalition was sworn in last June after his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu was ruled unfit for the job following several indecisive elections.
Orbach, who was the third legislator to ditch Bennett’s far-right Yamina Party, said he wanted to avoid another election.
His departure has left Bennett's coalition with 59 seats in the 120-member Knesset— two sits short of the majority it needs to be able to pass laws.
Netanyahu, now head of the opposition and vowing a comeback despite being on trial for alleged corruption, said the ruling coalition was holding "one of the longest funerals in history."
By his own admission, Bennett’s coalition may collapse within “a week or two” unless the MKs who have quit choose to return. “If they don’t, then we cannot [continue],” Bennett said.
"We are fighting because the choice is between chaos and stability," he alleged, claiming that his coalition “isn’t perfect, but the alternative isn’t better.”
Netanyahu responded by saying, "You are not fighting” for the occupying regime “but for your own seat."