Knesset Member Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi of the Meretz Party resigned from the government coalition on Thursday, sending shockwaves through the Israeli political system.

Following Zoabi’s departure, the coalition has just 59 seats to the opposition’s 60.

According to Ynet, attempts by Meretz to convince Zoabi to resign from the Knesset, rather than remaining and voting against the government, have so far proven unsuccessful.

In a letter sent to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and first published by Globes, Zoabi writes that “the heads of the coalition preferred to strengthen and safeguard the right-wing side of the coalition, again and again.”

Zoabi wrote that she encountered “total unreceptiveness to the needs of Arab communities, particularly in the areas of development for local councils, housing, employment and education.”

She described the month of Ramadan as “impossible to bear,” adding that “the sights we saw from the Temple Mount of police violence against crowds of worshippers, and the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, led to me a persona ethical conclusion: I cannot continue to support the existence of a coalition that disgracefully harasses the society that I come from. In light of what I highlighted, I hereby announce the removal of my candidacy for [any] future appointment and the stoppage of my membership in the coalition.”

In February, Zoabi voted against the coalition’s attempt to pass a new military draft law, resulting in an offer for her to take up the position of consul to Shanghai, China, in exchange for future support for the coalition.

But as that position has been delayed, the Globes reported, “the difficulties in the coalition led her to choose an ideological resignation at this time.”

According to Globes, neither Meretz Party head Nitzan Horowitz nor other coalition senior members had prior knowledge of Zoabi’s intentions.


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