After a fragile coalition government collapse, Israel will have elections for the fifth time in three and a half years. In a joint statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday that they are giving up on their efforts to stabilize the coalition, and as a result, new elections will be held, probably on October 25th. Lapid will become caretaker prime minister until the election and until the new government comes into power.
"This anti-Bibi coalition [has] been in place for 12 months," he tells AFN. "You have members of the Muslim Brotherhood, you have people from the left, from the right, from the center, and it is collapsing because a couple members of the coalition are saying, 'We're not pleased with the direction of this government, and we're concerned about the land of Israel.'"
Koenig is not confident that the October election will have a better result than the previous four.
"Based on the polls a couple of weeks ago, it is once again going to be a 50/50 election," he relays. "It looks like Likud, that's Netanyahu's party, will probably win 35 seats, but they would probably once again have a difficulty. They might able to hit 59 or 60 Knesset members in the coalition, but they need at least 61."
So at this point, Koenig says it looks like a new election will put them right back in the same place as the previous four elections.
Regarding the public's view of Netanyahu, the longtime Israeli prime minister was appreciated as a pillar for national security from Israel's enemies such as Iran, Koening says. As far as politics, however, Netanyahu created "bad blood" in Likud by refusing to share power with those in his own party.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with additional comments from William Koenig.