The Bennett government suffered a major political blow Wednesday morning, with coalition chairwoman Idit Silman announcing her departure from the coalition.
Silman, a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina faction, said early Wednesday morning that she will no longer stay in the narrow coalition government, announcing her resignation.
The coalition chairwoman cited deep ideological differences with the government’s left-wing partners, including the Meretz and Labor factions.
“I cannot [continue] any longer,” Silman said. "I tried unity."
"I worked hard for the present coalition government. Unfortunately, I won't be able to support harming the Jewish character of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. You aren't aware of everything, because I tried doing things quietly."
"My values and where I came from do not let me continue on this path. I am ending my membership in the coalition, and I will continue to try to convince my friends [in the coalition] to come home and form a right-wing government. I know that I am not the only one who feels like this."
"We can form a new government already, in the current Knesset."
Silman’s departure comes just days after she levelled an ultimatum against Health Minister and Meretz faction chief Nitzan Horowitz, demanding that the ban on hametz (leavened bread) be maintained in hospitals.
Silman is expected to send Prime Minister Bennett a formal resignation letter later on Wednesday.
Without Silman in the coalition, the government will lose its majority in the Knesset, falling from 61 seats to 60, potentially enabling the Opposition to veto any coalition bills.
MK Keti Shitrit (Likud) offered support to Idit Silman following her unexpected announcement.
"We were redeemed through miracles and will be redeemed through wonders and miracles in the future to come," Shitrit quoted the Biblical verse referring to the Jewish People's liberation from slavery in Egypt and the upcoming Passover holiday.
"Much praise to my friend, Idit Silman, on this courageous decision," she added.
Chairman of the Religious Zionism party, MK Bezalel Smotrich, lauded Silman's decision, calling it the 'dawn of a new day'.
"This is the dawn of a new day - the beginning of the end for Bennett's non-Zionist left-wing government and the Islamic Movement, and its replacement by a Jewish, Zionist coalition. Much praise to MK Silman for the courage to do the difficult but right thing that needed to be done...," said Smotrich in praise of the MK's move.
Silman was born in Rehovot, and was educated at Ulpana Tzfira and the Wingate Institute. She headed the marketing department of the Kupat Cholim Clalit health fund and led the National Religious women's organization Emunah's branch in Rehovot. She is married, and has three children.
An activist in her youth in the now defunct National Religious Party (Mafdal), she later joined the Jewish Home Party, where she was chosen for the female spot on the party list for the 2019 Knesset elections and then for the 8th spot on the Yamina list. When Alon Davidi resigned, she became an MK.