09:45 GMT28 January 2021
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    Israel is bracing itself for drama today as members of the opposition prepare to present a motion aimed at dissolving the nation's parliament.

    The opposition claims Israel's current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dysfunctional and says the PM has failed to address the acute health and economic crises the country is currently facing.

    They will need to collect more than 61 signatures to go ahead with a move to dissolve parliament, meaning the politicians will need the support of Benny Gantz, who is currently part of Netanyahu's coalition.

    On Tuesday, Gantz said he would support a bill that would see the parliament dissolved but even if he sticks to his word and the motion is passed on Wednesday, it will still need to go through a second and third reading before the Knesset dissolves itself, prompting yet another general vote, the fourth in two years.

    Elections: Fourth Round Looming

    Israeli Tweeps have, meanwhile, already taken to the social media platform to discuss this subject, with some welcoming the idea of a possible fourth general election.

    "Let's go ahead with elections. We are all tired of this not so funny circus called 'a unity government'", wrote one Twitter user, referring to the partnership between Netanyahu and Gantz.
    "Great! Going for elections now will only bolster the power of the right-wing in general and Likud in particular. And that will put an end to the ridiculous situation where parties that only have five seats run this state...", wrote another user.

    Recent polls suggest that Netanyahu might still able to form a government if the country ends up heading to the polls. 

    According to Israel's Channel 12, Likud is projected to get 30 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, and although this is lower than the party's gains in March, when it received 36 spots, Israeli media outlets believe the PM still has a good chance of winning the race.

    The reason for this is his potential partnership with Naftali Bennett and the latter's party Yamina, according to that same poll.

    If these estimations materialise, Netanyahu will only need 11 more seats to form a government and given the Ultra-Orthodox parties account for at least 13 spots in total, the prime minister's path to the top spot seems to be guaranteed.

    And this is also the reason why some Israelis appear to be worried. 

    "The dissolution of the Knesset mainly plays into the hands of Netanyahu. He might suffer a bit from [Naftali] Bennett [his main challenger] but [a partnership] with him is certainly better than what he currently has. [And if the elections end up taking place] we can bid a farewell to the rule of law and to his trial".

    "Instead of being scared of elections... let's demand them. Because if we don't, this group of idiots from the Blue and White party will give [Bibi] a change again. And this will all drag on until May, when Netanyahu will put forward his candidacy for the presidential post [something that will help him to avoid trial - ed.] In short -- elections now!"

    Allegations that Netanyahu is using elections for political purposes is nothing new. Israeli media and a number of politicians have claimed general polls might be a tool for the prime minister to evade trial. Netanyahu is currently being tried on corruption charges and legal proceedings are expected to resume in February.

    General Polls As a Disaster

    Netanyahu himself is now claiming that he would not want to drag the country into another round of polls and that his party will vote against the bill that aims to dissolve the Knesset.

    While many Tweeps don't mince words when it comes to Netanyahu, some appear to agree with the PM, warning that another national vote will be devastating for the country's economy.

    "Businesses are closed. Nearly a million of people are still unemployed. And all we are discussing is when the country will be heading to elections. Crazy".

    Israel's economy has been dealt a severe blow by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has to date claimed the lives of more than 2,800 people in the country.

    According to some estimates, at least 65,000 businesses have closed in Israel since mid-March, when the first lockdown was put in place, and the fear is that 20,000 others will shut their doors by the end of this year.

    High unemployment rates aren't exactly providing a ray of hope either. Experts believe that Israel will have more than 600,000 unemployed individuals in the next year and a half, with 30 percent of those having lost their job as a result of the pandemic not re-entering the labour market.

    "Tell me, are you out of your mind completely? We are at the peak of economic and health crises and you intend to drag the country into pricy elections? I call on the parliamentarians to vote against the dissolution of the Knesset and [I urge them] to sit down for talks. Israel needs a stable and united government".
    "Neither history, nor the public will forgive those who drag the country so irresponsibly into elections. Citizens are struggling, the economy has been shattered, Iranians are only few months away from the bomb and we go to elections. Is this what we need right now?.... Crazy politicians, get down from the ladder you climbed".

    Later today, Israel will know whether its politicians will follow that advice, but one thing is already certain: as the chasm between Netanyahu and Gantz broadens, bridging those gaps will be a hard task to manage.

    economic crisis, coronavirus, COVID-19, corona, Benny Gantz, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli elections, election, Israel
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