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Israeli opposition just as fractured as coalition

Though the Joint List won 15 Knesset seats in the March elections, the new unity government leaves it on the opposition benches once again.
SHEFA AMR, ISRAEL - MARCH 3: Member of the Joint List, Ahmed Tibi speaks during a program in Israel's northern city of Shefa-Amr on March 2, 2020, after polls officially closed in Israeli general elections. (Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Israel’s new government, its biggest ever, was sworn in on May 17. It has all kinds of newly invented portfolios, such as the Ministry of Community Empowerment and Advancement and the Ministry of Higher Education. Meanwhile, the pro-settler Yamina Party led by Naftali Bennett found itself heading to the opposition benches, creating a fascinatingly diverse opposition. It includes everyone from the Joint List and Meretz on the left, Yesh Atid-Telem in the center and Yisrael Beitenu and Yamina far to the right. Knesset member Ahmad Tibi tweeted, “I’m considering voting no confidence in the opposition if Yamina gets squeezed into it.”

The situation raises new questionw. What will be the Joint List’s role in the opposition? Does the number of Knesset seats it won in the last election matter? It is worth remembering that with 15 seats, the Joint List came very close to playing a decisive role in determining who would govern the country. It would have happened if Blue and White leader Benny Gantz  had formed a minority government, after the Joint List endorsed him during its meeting with the president.

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