Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who will become interim prime minister when parliament dissolves, as per the coalition agreement, hailed Bennett as a “vital Israeli leader, while promising to continue to “wage the campaign against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.”

Lapid will welcome U.S. President Joe Biden when he makes his first visit to Israel next month. The political crisis, however, is now threatening to overshadow Biden’s visit to Israel, which is still expected to take place.

JERUSALEM – Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced in a televised speech on Wednesday that his government would put forward a bill to dissolve parliament next week, effectively sending the country to a fifth election in three years. 

Bennett said he had “exhausted all options to stabilize” his fragile minority coalition, which has suffered from rebellious lawmakers in recent weeks.

The most recent pressing issue that brought the coalition on a verge of collapse was a failure to pass a bill that would extend Israeli law to Jewish settlers in the West Bank. 

Bennett ousted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June 2021, ending his 12 years in power. The right-wing leader and former Netanyahu ally’s eight-party coalition consisted of his own nationalist party, as well as right-wing, centrist, leftist parties and for the first time in the country’s history, an Arab-Israeli party.

Despite portraying itself as a “government of change,” a number of Netanyahu policies have remained in place, such as the opposition to a Palestinian state, expansion of West Bank settlements, air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and an opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran.

The former prime minister also accused the government of being “dependent on supporters of terrorism,” a reference to the Arab-Israeli coalition party, United Arab List. 

Netanyahu’s closest confidant, Likud lawmaker Micky Zohar, told USA TODAY that he hopes the elections will result in a “right wing government” headed by Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history, is on trial in three different corruption cases, one of the main reasons why a number of right-wing lawmakers and former allies refuse to join a government headed by him.