Coalition chairwoman and Yamina Knesset member Idit Silman on Wednesday confirmed her resignation and called for the establishment of a right-wing government.

Silman’s announcement took coalition members by surprise, as she had not spoken of her plans to anyone in the government, including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett or Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

“Unfortunately, I cannot anymore. I have tried unity. As someone who comes from the world of common good, I worked very hard for the current coalition. Regrettably, I cannot lend a hand to the blow to the State of Israel’s and Jewish people’s Jewish identity,” said Silman in a statement on Wednesday morning,

“You do not know everything because I tried [to effect change] quietly. I can no longer continue on this path due to the values and the place I come from. I am halting my membership in the coalition and will continue to try and convince my friends to come home and establish a right-wing government,” she said.

“I know I am not the only one who feels this way. The State of Israel’s Jewish identity is our right to exist here. It is our heart. It is our essence. Damage [to it], without any consideration for the public and the values I represent, is a red line to me. Another government can be established in this Knesset,” the statement continued.

The Knesset is now in recess and will return in another five weeks.

Coalition members asserted Silman’s resignation would not topple the government, saying that “in a 60-60 situation, we’ll hang on until the end of March [2023]. If there’s another resignation, that’ll be another story.”

Responding to the news, opposition leader and Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Silman “back home to the nationalist camp.”

“You have proven that true public servants act according to the dictates of their conscience,” he said in a video message on Twitter. “I call upon all those who were elected by the voters of the nationalist camp to join Idit and come home to us. You will be welcomed … with open arms,” he continued.

Likud officials said Silman’s resignation was the result of their party’s efforts in recent days. They said they preferred another round of elections over a vote of no confidence that would see the appointment of a prime minister-designate, and that the next lawmaker to resign, toppling the government, would be guaranteed a spot on the Likud Knesset list.

Earlier this week, Silman lashed out at Horowitz upon learning he had demanded hospital directors uphold a High Court of Justice ruling permitting the entry of chametz, or leavened bread, into hospitals over Passover.

After the coalition chairwoman said they would not be able to allow Horowitz to continue as a minister if chametz was allowed in hospitals, her husband, Shmulik Silman, told Israel Radio that right-wing lawmakers should apologize for lying to their voters.

“I expect the health minister to respect the public and the coalition he is in, and the places where there is a veto on issues of religion and state, and to take the sensitivities of the traditional public into consideration,” he said.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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