Knesset disperses; Israeli elections set for November 1

Israel’s Knesset on Thursday set November 1 as the date for the country’s next general elections.

The Joint Arab List voted with the coalition, resulting in a majority of 57 votes in favor versus 47 against for the November 1 date, the coalition’s preferred option. The opposition had been pushing for October 25, when yeshiva students, who are likely to vote for ultra-Orthodox parties that will seek to join Likud in a political bloc, will be on holiday.

The Knesset approved in third and final reading a bill to disperse itself, meaning that Yair Lapid is set to become caretaker prime minister at midnight on Friday, replacing Naftali Bennett.

Bennett, who announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the election, will become alternate prime minister after Yair Lapid becomes the premier.

“The State of Israel is the love of my life. Serving it is my calling,” he said in a televised farewell speech.

Long-time political partner Ayelet Shaked will replace Bennett as the head of Yamina. She has said she would be open to joining Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu in forming a right-wing government.

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