Amid the ongoing coalition crisis, the Israel Hayom newspaper has revealed new details about the fourth meeting to take place between Yamina MK Nir Orbach and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett this week, a meeting that deteriorated into a shouting match and failed to resolve outstanding issues.
Bennett, who had been trying to persuade Orbach to have patience and give him time to stabilize the situation, reportedly lost his own patience and shouted at Orbach to stop undermining the coalition. "You keep calling the government unstable, but you're the one who is destabilizing it," he accused, adding that if Orbach really wants to destroy the coalition, he should go right ahead and do so instead of sniping from the sidelines.
Recovering himself somewhat, Bennett also appealed to Orbach to postpone any action he might take until after next month's visit to Israel by U.S. President Joe Biden. The visit, and the background to it, is extremely sensitive for the right-wing public, given the price already paid in terms of blocking the demolition of the home of the terrorist who killed several Israelis in Tel Aviv, increasing the numbers of construction permits granted to Arabs in the territories, and halting all planning procedures in the E1 area near Jerusalem. And that's before the high price that will be demanded during the visit itself - Biden's visit to East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and probably also a declaration of the need to stop settler violence.
"If Lapid is Prime Minister at the time of the visit," Bennett stressed to Orbach, "he will acquiesce to every American demand, which will be terrible for right-wing interests."
Bennett tried to extract a commitment from Orbach that he would not be the one to support the dissolution of the Knesset, but Orbach would not respond. Becoming more agitated, Bennett tried to get Orbach to at least agree that even if he supported the dissolution of the Knesset, he would manage to draw out the process in the Knesset committee he heads until after Biden's visit - but Orbach again refused to respond.
Even the next day, Bennett did not give up. He sent a series of messengers to Orbach, some using pressuring tactics, others simply begging him to consider the "most vital interests of the State of Israel" and stressing that it wasn't about Bennett himself, but about the national interest.
Those close to Bennett are still hoping that even if Orbach does decide to abandon the government, he will at least postpone his move until after Biden's visit, ensuring that Bennett will still hold the premiership while the American president is in Israel.