After the latest Knesset (Israeli parliament) elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was given the first chance to try to form a coalition government. However, he failed to do so by the deadline: he only managed to get 60 seats' worth of parties (so, one seat short of a majority), due to a dispute between would-be coalition partners.

As I understand it, the default result of this failure would be that a different party leader (presumably Benny Gantz of Blue and White) would next be given a chance to form a coalition; but instead, the just-elected Knesset voted 74–45 to dissolve itself and schedule do-over elections. [link]

Why did Knesset vote to do this? What were the different parties hoping to avoid, or what are they hoping will happen the second time around, or . . . ?

2 Answers 2


I don't follow Israeli politics closely, but based an AP report:

  • most parties probably see Netanyahu's position eroding further with the anti-corruption investigation targeting him

  • Lieberman, who toppled the coalition by insisting on ending the draft exemption for the ultra-orthodox Jews, apparently hopes to gain more seats by championing this cause which has wider public support outside his (shrinking) Soviet-emigres base.

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    In other words, there wasn't a majority to back Netanyahu, but there was a majority who think that a new election is better (for them individually, at least) than Gantz.
    – Bobson
    Jun 2, 2019 at 15:45
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    @Bobson: Yes, you've succinctly stated the premise of the question. ;-)
    – ruakh
    Jun 3, 2019 at 14:46
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    @Bobson: I think it's slightly more complicated than that, because the Israeli President gets to pick who to invite next, and he might have picked someone other than Gantz. Presumably, if were just about blocking Gantz, they would wait for him to be picked and then vote down his coalition too.
    – Kevin
    Jun 4, 2019 at 22:31

Article 12 of the Foundation Law: The Government, which governs the rules for forming a government after the elections, states:

If a law for dissolving the Knesset was accepted, the proceedings for forming a government will be stopped.

Seeing that he is having difficulties forming a coalition, Netanyahu didn't want to let his political opponent, Gantz, have the chance of forming an alternative one. So he let one of his party members propose a dissolvement law (most believe he ordered him, but that's not proven), and pass it in two of the three necessary calls, making it ready to pass the third call if he doesn't meet the deadline. when the deadline was reached, Netanyahu used his political power to enforce all his would-be partners to support the bill, and so Article 12 was put to action. In a weird way, He had a majority support to dissolve the Knesset, but not to form a government.

The law also received the support of the Arab parties, although they should theoretically have supported Gantz. They explained it by saying they felt obligated to support the dissolvement of any right-wing government, even though such government wasn't formed yet. Some speculated he promised to support more funds to the Arab population in return, but no evidence for that was published.

  • "Some speculated he promised to support more funds to the Arab population in return" - that's pretty much a description of a lot of politics, including in Israel :)
    – user4012
    Jul 15, 2019 at 12:23

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