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Bennett addresses the Knesset. Photo: Marcus Yam/LA Times via Getty

Israel's month-old government is fighting uphill battles every week in the Knesset, fending off filibusters that have forced Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Cabinet to spend full nights each week in legislative sessions.

Why it matters: The new government still appears very unstable because its constituent parties hold opposing views on many issues, making it difficult to muster a majority on politically sensitive votes.

  • The coalition has lost just one vote so far, but it was an important one — to renew a controversial citizenship law that prevents Palestinians in the West Bank from gaining Israeli citizenship if they marry Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • The law was supported by the Israeli right since 2003 when it was first enacted, but opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his entire right-wing bloc voted against it to embarrass the government.
  • The showdowns between Bennett and Netanyahu have continued. On Monday, they engaged in dueling speeches — each rising three times to respond to the other over the course of more than an hour.

State of play: A poll published Monday by Channel 12 showed an even split: 45% of voters are satisfied with the new government, while 45% are not.

  • The poll showed Bennett's party winning eight seats in a hypothetical election and the governing parties together winning 63, both one more than today.
  • But just 14% of respondents said Bennett was most qualified to be prime minister versus 40% for Netanyahu and 24% for Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
  • Netanyahu's Likud party held steady with 30 seats. His poll numbers remain right where they were before he moved into the opposition.

What’s next: The big challenge for the government will be passing a budget by Nov. 4.

  • The narrow majority means that each member of the coalition effectively has veto power and can hold the process hostage by putting forward demands.
  • If the budget doesn’t pass, the government falls. If it does pass, the government will almost certainly last another full year — a major blow to Netanyahu's efforts to force a fresh election.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2021 - World

Scoop: Israel and France hold secret talks to end NSO spyware crisis

Anyone listening? Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata secretly visited Paris several days ago for talks with his counterparts at the Élysée aimed at ending the crisis around the alleged use of Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli firm NSO to hack the cell phones of President Emmanuel Macron and other top French officials, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The alleged misuse of NSO software has become a major diplomatic headache for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government. The crisis led to a partial freeze on diplomatic, security and intelligence cooperation between Israel and France and the suspension of high-level bilateral visits.

Oct 20, 2021 - World

Sudan military wants to take power without coup, civilian leader says

Burhan (center) and Dagalo attend a military graduation ceremony. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

One of the most outspoken and high-profile civilian members of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC), Mohamed Elfaki Suleiman, said in an interview that the military faction of the council wants to create a government it can control without staging a coup.

Why it matters: Sudan is facing a political crisis 2½ years after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir. Thousands took to the streets over the weekend to urge the military to take power, while anti-military demonstrations are planned for Thursday. The protests come just three weeks after a failed coup that the government blamed on Bashir loyalists.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker