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Israeli premier scrambles to contain rebels in own party

The ouster of Yamina legislator Amichai Chikli will do little to calm the storm Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is facing.
RONEN ZVULUN/AFP via Getty Images

The Knesset House Committee declared April 25 that Knesset member Amichai Chikli of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party would be considered a “retiree.” This form of sanctioning is reserved for extreme situations in which a Knesset member acts against the positions of his or her own party in order to receive benefits such as the promise of a senior position in a rival party. Knesset members declared “retirees” are banned from running in future elections as part of any existing party. In order to run, they must first form a new party.

Shortly before the last election, Chikli was given the number-five slot on Yamina’s party list. He is an educator and right-wing ideologue who served in the IDF. At the time, Bennett described him as an exemplary citizen. But then Bennett decided to join a coalition with leftist factions and even an Arab party, despite previous commitments to voters.

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