Israel’s weakened coalition government announced Monday that it would dissolve parliament and call new elections, setting the stage for the possible return to power of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another period of prolonged political gridlock.
The election will be Israel’s fifth in three years, and it will put the polarizing Netanyahu, who has been the opposition leader for the past year, back at the center of the political universe.
“I think the winds have changed. I feel it,” Netanyahu declared.
The previous four elections, focused on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule while facing a corruption investigation, ended in deadlock. While opinion polls project Netanyahu, who is now on trial, as the front-runner, it is far from certain that his Likud party can secure the required parliamentary majority to form a new government.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former ally and aide of Netanyahu, formed his government a year ago with the aim of halting the never-ending cycle of elections. But the fragile coalition government, which includes parties from across the political spectrum, lost its majority earlier this year and has faced rebellions from different lawmakers in recent weeks.
Autumn Adeigbo has some new investors — including Cameron Diaz, Mila Kunis and Gabrielle Union — bringing the designer’s total funding for her nameplate brand to approximately $4.2 million.
The designer and founder of the women’s ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear brand first met Diaz and Kunis at a retreat hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow and Brit Morin. There, the trio bonded over shared interests, such as entrepreneurship and technology, before Adeigbo brought the actresses on board as investors.
“If you would have told me years ago that Cameron and I would become friends let alone business allies I would have never believed you,” Adeigbo said. “I have been a fan of Cameron for so long and her light transcends what America fell in love with on screen. I am so excited she is shining her kindness, humor, beauty and intelligence my way.
It is the first time that new nations have joined in more than a decade, and the first time since 1995 that two have joined at once.
The two west African countries will follow Rwanda and Mozambique as the third and fourth countries to join the Commonwealth’s ranks without having ever been under Britain’s rule. Gabon is a former French colony while Togo used to be under German rule.
Their admission is due to be formally announced this week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Rwanda.
The Prince of Wales arrived in Kigali, the capital city, on Tuesday where he will represent the Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth.
He will be joined by the Prime Minister on Thursday morning at the summit, which will feature a series of events and discussions between the leaders of the 54 Commonwealth members.
But the Government’s flagship migrant policy – under which illegal immigrants are forcibly deported to Rwanda – threatens to overshadow the event.
The Prince of Wales reportedly told friends privately he was “appalled” by the plan and said that he was “more than disappointed” by it.
Mr Johnson and Prince Charles are due to hold a “bilateral discussion” during the summit, which will be their first exchange since the future king’s remarks on the policy were leaked to the press.
Clarence House has confirmed that the Prince has no plans to visit the accommodation centre in Kigali which will house immigrants when they arrive from the UK.
Instead, he spent a full day visiting the Genocide Memorial where he toured the museum and lay a wreath, followed by a trip to the Mbyo reconciliation village where he met survivors and perpetrators of the Genocide.
During his time in Kigali he will also attend the Chogm opening ceremony and host a dinner for the heads of Government.
It is understood that his programme has been drawn up to reflect the wishes of the Rwandan government and he is also obliged to steer clear of anything that could be perceived as party political.
Prince could be asked about migrant policy
Clarence House has not completely ruled out the Prince making a reference to the controversial policy and is aware he could be asked about it during a series of private bilateral meetings.
And the Prime Minister, who will be accompanied on the trip by his wife Carrie Johnson, will not visit the centre either, with his official spokesman explaining that his “time is limited”.
“We think that the best use of his time for this short period he is in Rwanda is to dedicate himself to some of the issues or be raised at the summit,” Downing Street said.
Last week the European Court of Human Rights intervened to block the first flight of migrants from taking off to Rwanda.
In a last-minute intervention, the European court halted the flight with four of the seven asylum seekers already having boarded after it backed a legal challenge by one of them, a 54-year-old Iraqi, known as KN, who came to Britain by small boat less than a month ago.
The court’s injunction blocked the deportation until at least three weeks after a judicial review next month had decided whether the Government’s Rwanda policy was lawful. His case had previously been rejected by the UK’s high court, court of appeal and supreme court.
Announcing his plan to disband the government during a nationally televised news conference, Bennett said he had made “the right decision” in difficult circumstances.
“Together, we got Israel out of the pit. We accomplished many things in this year. First and foremost, we brought to center stage the values of fairness and trust,” Bennett said, standing alongside his main partner, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “We shifted to a culture of ‘we,’ ‘together.’”
Under their coalition deal, Lapid, who heads the large centrist party Yesh Atid, now becomes the interim prime minister until the election, in which he is expected to be the main rival to Netanyahu.
Standing together with Bennett, he thanked his partner for his hard work and for putting the country ahead of his personal interests.
“Even if we’re going to elections in a few months, our challenges as a state cannot wait,” Lapid said. “What we need to do today is go back to the concept of Israeli unity. Not to let dark forces tear us apart from within.”