Israeli government teeters on the edge after lawmaker quits leaving the coalition vulnerable to a no-confidence vote.

Approving a motion to dissolve parliament and call new elections requires 61 votes.
Approving a motion to dissolve parliament and call new elections requires 61 votes. (Reuters)

A leftist Arab Israeli lawmaker has quit the governing coalition, citing among other factors police aggression at an Al Jazeera reporter's funeral, rendering the government a minority in parliament.

Thursday's decision by Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi of the left-wing Meretz party leaves the coalition headed by right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with just 59 out of 120 seats in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

The development does not, however, necessarily indicate that the coalition - an alliance of parties ranging from the Jewish right and centre/left to an Arab party - is set to collapse.

Approving a motion to dissolve parliament and call new elections requires 61 votes.

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Several opposition lawmakers, including Zoabi and members of the Arab Joint List, are bitterly opposed to the current opposition leader, former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu - in office from 1996 to 1999, and again from 2009 until June 2021 - has been outspoken about his desire to topple the Bennett government, force new polls and return to power.

In a letter announcing her decision to leave the coalition, Zoabi said: "Again and again the heads of the coalition have taken hawkish, rigid and right-wing stances regarding basic issues of utmost importance for Arab society."

She referred to unrest at the Jerusalem's flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound, tensions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbour of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, and "the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh."

Abu Akleh, a veteran reporter, was shot dead during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank last week.

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In a raid that has sparked international outrage, baton-wielding Israeli police beat several pallbearers as they carried the journalist's coffin out of a hospital before her burial.

A member of Israel's 20 percent Arab population, Zoabi had been nominated to serve as Israel's consul-general in Shanghai, taking up her post over the summer.

It was not immediately clear how her departure from the coalition could impact that nomination, but if she takes a diplomatic role she would be compelled to leave the Knesset, with Meretz naming her replacement.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies