A lawmaker from Israel’s ruling Yamina alliance has unexpectedly stepped down from the coalition, meaning that the government of Naftali Bennett has lost its razor-thin majority.
Israeli media unanimously reported Wednesday that Idit Silman had resigned from office.
Bennett’s government was sworn in in June last year, ending a long-lasting political crisis in Israel that saw four elections in two years.
The coalition was formed of eight parties from the left – to right-wing spectrum – including an Arab party for the first time.
Silman, the coalition chairperson, reportedly resigned because of a dispute over the religious matter of whether leavened food (chametz) should be allowed to be brought into hospitals during the Jewish festival of Passover.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu praised Silman’s decision. The move does not have any immediate concrete impact. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is in recess until May 8.
Even after Silman’s resignation, the opposition would not have the necessary majority for an effective vote of no confidence.
It is, therefore, still unclear if and when the government could collapse and prompt new elections.