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THE WEEK AHEAD: Coalition make-it-or-break-it time as vote to dissolve the government likely to come before Knesset

Here are the stories we are watching...

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the plenum hall of the Knesset, June 13, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Coalition make-it-or-break-it time

  • Will Israel bring back indoor masks?

  • Gantz to choose the next IDF chief

  • Zelenskyy to address Hebrew University

  • Hebrew Book Week

VOTE TO DISPERSE COALITION LIKELY THIS WEEK

On Wednesday, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party is planning to present a bill to dissolve the Knesset. If Yamina party member Nir Orbach – the latest departure from the coalition – votes in favor, the opposition will have a majority and new elections will be set for Oct. 25.

Under such a scenario, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become interim prime minister.

After Orbach broke with the coalition, he was courted by Likud which offered him a ministerial position in a future government in exchange for a vote to dissolve the parliament. He vowed to work to form an alternative government with a “patriotic spirit” in the existing parliament. Netanyahu said the government “is on its deathbed, receiving artificial resuscitation.”

WILL ISRAEL RESTORE THE MASK MANDATE?

With new daily infections of COVID-19 on the rise, Israeli coronavirus czar Salman Zarka signaled that the Health Ministry is considering bringing back the indoor mask mandate.

“I do not think this is a burden that the public cannot handle,” Zarka said last week. “We highly recommend that people at elevated risk for developing severe disease wear masks.”

So far, the Health Ministry has only recommended the use of masks in enclosed spaces and areas with large crowds, but has refrained from pushing for a fifth shot of the vaccine. Local data showed that almost 50% of newly infected Israelis have the Omicron BA.5 variant.

GANTZ TO CHOOSE NEXT IDF CHIEF

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is expected to interview three candidates on his shortlist for IDF chief of staff: Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, former Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, and head of the Ground Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick. The current frontrunner for the appointment, according to local media reports, is Halevi.

Whoever is tapped to replace Lt. Gen. Kochavi will be the military's 23rd chief of staff since its establishment. While the individual will be officially appointed only in January 2023, Gantz wants to expedite the process in case the government collapses.

The position is a three-year post, but can be extended. Most army chiefs serve for four years.

ZELENSKYY TO ADDRESS HEBREW UNIVERSITY

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the Hebrew University community on Wednesday. His live, virtual address will be in Ukrainian with a simultaneous translation into English, followed by a Q&A with students and faculty. The live stream will be broadcast on the University's Facebook and YouTube channels.

HEBREW BOOK WEEK

Hebrew Book Week, an annual 10-day event in Israel celebrating Hebrew literature, kicks off this week. The main outdoor book fairs take place in Sarona Park in Tel Aviv and First Station in Jerusalem. Publishing companies sell their books at major discounts and host signing events for authors. 

What started as a one-day event in 1926 on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv to promote book sales, the fair is now national and bookstores across the country offer major discounts throughout the entire month.

This week we are also keeping an eye on these developing stories:

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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