Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett intends to retire from political life and not run in the upcoming elections, Channel 12 political commentator Amit Segal reported.

The report comes two days after Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the dissolution of the government.

Bennett decided to dissolve the Knesset after a conversation with the Attorney General last Friday about the chaos that will be created if the Judea and Samaria regulations are not passed. "I am not willing to accept blackmail and threats. If I harm the state because of the non-approval of the Judea and Samaria regulations, I will go," Bennett said.

Yair Lapid will become prime minister during the transition period as per the coalition agreement and will greet US President Joe Biden as Israel's premier during his visit to the Jewish State on July 13. Elections for the 25th Knesset will be held in October; at this point, the most likely date seems to be October 25.

With the dissolution of the government, Naftali Bennett will become the shortest-serving prime minister in Israel's history, a record which would be broken by Lapid if he does not remain prime minister following the elections.

Bennett's political career appeared to have reached its end once before, following the elections of April 2019 when his New Right party failed to secure enough votes to pass the electoral threshold. However, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition, forcing another election in which Bennett's party was able to claw its way back into the Knesset.

Following several more undecisive elections, Bennett secured a deal with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid following the election of March 2021 by which they would both serve as prime minister under a rotational agreement, with Bennett serving as prime minister first.

The coalition which was formed included right-wing parties such as Yamina and New Hope, left-wing parties such as Meretz, and even an Arab party, Ra'am, for the first time in Israel's history.

The bill to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections in October passed its first reading in the Knesset Wednesday.

The bill, introduced by lawmakers from the New Hope and Yesh Atid factions in the coalition, passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset on a 110 to 0 vote.