MKs Netanyahu and Yariv Levin
MKs Netanyahu and Yariv Levin צילום: נועם מושקוביץ - דוברות הכנסת

The Israeli government’s plan to dissolve the Knesset Monday and call new elections faces a key test Monday, as legislation ending the 24th Knesset faces review in committee.

Last week, the Knesset voted 110 to 0 to back eleven various bills calling for the dissolution of the Knesset, sending Israel to its fifth general election in three years.

The Knesset vote sent the bills to the House Committee for review. Once the bills receive committee approval, they will be brought before the Knesset plenum for their last two votes.

But coalition members fear that the chairman of the House Committee, rogue Yamina MK Nir Orbach, who bolted the government earlier this month to back the Opposition, may intentionally delay the approval process, giving the Likud an opportunity to form a new government in the current Knesset.

The Likud has sought support from coalition members, including Yamina, New Hope, and Blue and White, in an effort to topple the current government and form a new one, thus preventing Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid from becoming prime minister during election season.

The government hopes to dissolve the Knesset before midnight between Thursday and Friday, when the Judea and Samaria Law is set to expire.

If the Knesset is dissolved prior to the law’s expiration, it will automatically be extended by six months, giving the next government the opportunity to pass the five-year extension without the law terminating.

Should the government fail to dissolve the Knesset by Thursday night, however, Israeli law, currently applied to Area C of Judea and Samaria indirectly, via the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, will no longer be in force in Jewish communities in the area.

Coalition members have warned of “total chaos” in Judea and Samaria should the law not be extended, leaving Israeli residents in the lurch, losing their status as residents of Israel and with police potentially unable to enforce Israeli civil law.

“I refuse to close my eyes to the political reality of the expiration of the Judea and Samaria Law,” Labor MK Gilad Kariv said Sunday. “I am unwilling to be in a situation where half a million Israeli citizens don’t know what legal situation they will be in, when the whole reason revolves around political considerations.”

Another coalition member, cited by Ma’ariv, said the Likud hopes to force the expiration of the Judea and Samaria Law, to pressure potential allies to help it form a new government – or to use as a campaign issue against coalition factions.

“If the law expires before the Knesset is dissolved, it will cause total chaos on the ground; their goal is to blame the government and the coalition.”

Kariv vowed last Thursday to take the bills dissolving the Knesset out of the House Committee and approve them in the Constitution Committee, which he chairs.

But the Knesset’s legal adviser hinted Thursday that such a step may not be permissible, reiterating the position during a committee hearing Sunday.