The reason Knesset member Nir Orbach is under much heavier pressure now than he used to be is that the Yamina Party is not a democratic entity.
There are no party institutions, certainly not elected, legislated institutions. There is nothing that mediates between Yamina voters and their Knesset representatives. The voters have no accepted, democratic way of influencing the party’s top echelon, not even voting for institutions like a central committee, a secretariat, or anything similar. The result is that supporters of the party who feel betrayed by and furious at Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked are powerless to do anything about it.
The main reason Orbach resigned from the coalition was not the shouting protesters outside his house, but rather the unity in the opposition under Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. This past year, Netanyahu has demonstrated leadership, even though Gideon Sa’ar announced repeatedly that he would not join a government under Netanyahu.
It’s hard not to see the reality, though sometimes people try to gloss things over: The Yamina faction is breaking up. When MKs Silman, Chikli, Orbach, Alon Davidi, Asher Cohen and basically a large part of the team departs, it indicates a sweeping lack of faith in the party leadership.
Orbach is blaming Ra’am Party MKs Mazen Ghnaim and Ghaida Rinawie-Zoabi for his departure. But that’s not entirely fair, because from the first day of the Bennett-Lapid government, one could see that there was something dangerous and submissive in a few left-wing and a few Islamist parties joining forces with a party that calls itself “rightward” (Yamina).
It’s not completely clear what Orbach meant in one section of his resignation announcement on Monday, when he said, “I don’t think that holding elections is the best option. Repeated elections don’t serve the stability necessary to govern the country. This coming week, I won’t vote to dissolve the Knesset. I will work with all my might for a stable government with a national spirit, like we promised to do a year ago … I am not part of the coalition.”
There is no chance that the longed-for stability will arise from the ranks of the coalition. “A stable government with a national spirit”—that could happen only under Likud leadership. But the Yamina leaders have come down with leadership syndrome. Let’s assume that for now, Orbach won’t help dissolve the government. What is he leaving for the Israeli public? At this point, Orbach, Bennett and Shaked are only adding uncertainty to an already uncertain situation, and are becoming part of the tradition of the religious right, which since 1975 has been the dominant factor in the lack of stability in this country.
Amnon Lord is a veteran journalist, film critic, writer and editor.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.