Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi
Ghaida Rinawie ZoabiYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu knew about Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi's intention to resign from the coalition before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did, according to accounts.

Zoabi told MK Moshe Arbel of Shas of her intentions, and he in turn informed his party chairman Aryeh Deri, who then informed Netanyahu.

With Zoabi's departure from the coalition, the Bennett-led government will have only 59 seats in the Knesset, giving the opposition an absolute majority.

The opposition is slated to bring a bill dissolving the Knesset to a vote next Wednesday.

MK Zoabi did not update either Prime Minister Naftali Bennett or Foreign Minister Yair Lapid of her plans prior to penning her letter of resignation on Thursday. Nor did Zoabi notify her own Meretz party, which learned of her decision from media reports. Zoabi is expected to be given a place on the Knesset slate of the predominantly Arab Joint List party for the next election.

Meretz chairman Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz intends to meet with Zoabi on Friday in an attempt to convince her to change her mind about leaving the coalition.

"Our coalition is important and we are working to preserve it. The dissolution of the coalition will hand a prize for Netanyahu and Ben Gvir, and cause great damage to society as a whole - Arabs and Jews alike. Meretz and I are committed to making every effort to stabilize the government and ensure its continued existence," Horowitz said.