AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File
Yair Lapid, Benjamin Netanyahu

Polls by Israeli media show Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies projected to gain seats in the Knesset, although it is unclear whether they would have enough to form a 61-seat majority.

By Associated Press

Israel’s parliament voted Thursday to dissolve itself, marking the end of a year-old experimental coalition government, and sending the country to the polls in November 2022 for the fifth time in less than four years.

Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, will become the country’s caretaker prime minister just after midnight on Friday. He will be the 14th person to hold that office, taking over from Naftali Bennett, Israel’s shortest serving prime minister.

The government collapsed just over a year after it was formed, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in power.

The motion to dissolve passed with 92 lawmakers in favor, and none against, after days of argument by coalition and opposition lawmakers over the date of new elections and other last-minute legislation.

New elections will be held on November 1.

Lapid, a former talk-show host who heads a center-left party, is expected to campaign as caretaker prime minister to keep the job as the main alternative to Netanyahu. He will welcome U.S. President Joe Biden to the country next week.

Polls by Israeli media show Netanyahu and his allies are projected to gain seats, although it is unclear whether they would have enough to form a 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset. If neither he nor anyone else succeeds in doing so, Israel could go to elections yet again.

On Wednesday, Bennett said he would be taking a hiatus from politics and would not be running in the upcoming elections.

“They promised change, they spoke about healing, they tried an experiment, and the experiment failed,” Netanyahu said in an address to parliament ahead of the vote. “We are the only alternative: a strong, stable, responsible nationalist government.”

The outgoing governing coalition made history by being the first to include an Arab party. Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra’am faction, joined the coalition to represent Israel’s Arab community, which makes up some 20% of the population.

Netanyahu and his allies accused coalition members of partnering with terrorist sympathizers, citing Abbas’ Islamist roots.