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An Arab member of Israel’s ruling coalition resigned Thursday over events including the death of a Palestinian-American journalist, leaving the now minority government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett nearer collapse.
Rinawie Zoabi, an Arab citizen of Israel, said she was resigning because she couldn’t “support a coalition that is disgracefully harassing the society I come from.” She cited the recent killing of Al-Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank, and the behavior of Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa compound during the month of Ramadan.
Zoabi’s departure means the government now controls just 59 seats in the 120-member Knesset, and comes six weeks after Bennett’s coalition lost its majority when Idit Silman, a right-wing member of the prime minister’s own party, resigned on religious grounds.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Zoabi would vote against the government if a no-confidence motion were tabled by the opposition, which would require the support of 61 lawmakers to pass.
Shaky since its inception in June last year, the ruling coalition was formed primarily around a desire to unseat then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after four inconclusive elections in a two-year period, and is dependent on the willingness of its members to compromise to survive.
Bennett cobbled together secular and religious factions, hawks and doves, free marketeers and social democrats, as well as an Arab party for the first time in Israeli history.
The Palestinians say Akleh was shot by Israeli troops while Israel says that Palestinian gunmen were active in the area, and it’s unclear who fired the fatal bullet.
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