What are the next steps? Is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s main coalition partner Yair Lapid guaranteed to become the next premier?
When will elections be held?
Assuming the Knesset votes to dissolve itself, it will also set a date for the election. It will have to be after at least ninety days, and within five months. The coalition and the opposition usually reach an agreement on the exact date, with the most likely options being either at the end of October or the beginning of November.
What path does Netanyahu have to return to power? Can he do so without elections?
What are his chances of winning the most seats in the next election?
Is there a way out of this endless cycle of elections in Israel?
On average, Israel has held elections every 2.6 years since 1996. This ongoing crisis will not come to an end until Israel’s leaders put their political differences aside and enact long over-due electoral and constitutional reforms, such as making any attempt to initiate early elections dependent on a two-thirds majority in parliament and amending the current law that demands new elections when a budget fails to pass.
What is the root cause of this political deadlock?
This perfect storm of political dysfunction is the result of a systematic failure of our electoral system, coupled with the unique situation in which a candidate for prime minister is on trial and therefore members of his own political camp won’t sit with him in government. It is likely to continue until one of the sides receives a substantial majority in parliament, or Netanyahu decides to take a break from public life until his legal issues are resolved.
Middle East states pressure Biden to come up with strategy to contain Iran
- Background: The US has said that prospects of reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran are tenuous, and Middle East officials have said that the administration hasn’t yet told its allies what “Plan B” would be should the talks fail. Sources said the administration has said that it would keep up the economic pressure on Iran and ramp up sanctions enforcement should a deal fall through. The US has also been working to build a regional coalition against Iran, urging the Gulf countries to integrate all their air and missile defense systems against Iranian attacks.
- Why it matters: Concerns over potential Iranian escalation have fueled a broader diplomatic shift between Israel and the Gulf countries, leading to normalization agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The precarious security environment has led Israel to push heavily for Biden to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with the Saudi Crown Prince, multiple officials said.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov due in Iran
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was due to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and the situation in Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said. The trip would be his first under the administration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
- Background: The visit will be the latest in a series of trips made by Russian officials to Iran. Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak met with Iranian Petroleum Minister Javad Owji in Tehran to discuss swapping supplies for oil and gas, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
- Why it matters: The meeting comes as Russia tries to strengthen ties with traditional allies amid Western sanctions on its economy and energy exports. Russia and Iran, both under Western sanctions, sit on some of the world’s largest oil reserves. Russia is also part of the talks Iran is holding with world powers to revive its 2015 nuclear agreement.
Turkish parliament set to debate media bill decried by journalists
Protesters demonstrated in Istanbul on Tuesday against a media bill that Turkey’s government says will fight “disinformation,” but which media rights groups argue will double down on a years-long crackdown on critical reporting.
- Background: The legislation is one of a series of steps during President Tayyip Erdogan’s two decades in power that have driven concerns among rights groups about a muzzling of the minority of media outlets where dissent and critical views are still aired. Parliament was expected to begin debating the bill on Wednesday.
- Why it matters: A key concern among critics of the bill is an article saying those who spread false information about the country’s security and public order to create fear and disturb the public peace will face a prison sentence of one to three years. The bill would also subject digital media to the same regulations as traditional media.
Around the region
Those billboards on the highway out of the country’s only airport are now being replaced with images of landmarks and tourist hotspots.
Nassar asked the media teams from Hezbollah and its allies in the Amal movement, “with love and respect,” to give some of the advertising space around the highway to promote Lebanon’s tourist destinations “at least for the next four months,” he said in an interview with Al Jadeed News this month. Hezbollah obliged and the new banners came up late last week.
“I never thought I’d live to see the day when Beirut Airport could look so Lebanese,” said a Twitter user.
Reeling from an economic collapse, the government has been trying to put the country back on the tourist map. Secretary-General of the Federation of Tourism Establishments Jean Beiruti told the local MTV channel this month that reservations were picking up in mountainous and coastal areas. “We should congratulate ourselves,” he said.
By Mohammed Abdelbary
The number of Syrian refugees returning to their country from Turkey every week. Turkey hosts around 3.7 million Syrians, the largest refugee population in the world, but worsening public sentiment has led the government to work on plans to send them back.