Last minute negotiations between PM Netanyahu and the head of the secularist Israel Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman came to naught today and the newly elected Israeli parliament passed in preliminary reading a bill to dissolve itself and declare a new election. The bill passed with a convincing 65 to 43 majority. Now there are 48 hours remaining in which a new government may yet be formed, but the chances for that appear slim to none, so Israel will be heading to an unprecedented back to back election without a government ever being formed.
The timing of the elections will be a hot button issue because in the summer and over the fall holidays many non-observant Israelis travel abroad, while the more traditionally inclined spend time at home celebrating the holidays. Thus declaring the election before the end of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) holiday in October will disadvantage left-wing and secularist parties. At the same time, keeping the caretaker government in power until that time is highly undesirable. Finally, the hearing on Netanyahu’s corruption charges during which it will be decided if he will be formally charged with several felony counts is also scheduled for October.
An incident developed in the Golan Heights today in which an Israeli unmanned aircraft was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft forces in the Kuneitra region of the strategic plateau. Israel has retaliated against the source of the fire. This is a developing story.