BBC bungles basics in report on Israel’s new coalition

The consensus in Israel is that the May 25th agreement which brought the Yisrael Beiteinu party into the coalition government means that it now has a total of sixty-six seats in the Knesset whilst the opposition is left with 54.

From the Jerusalem Post:

coalition JP

From the Times of Israel:

coalition ToI

From Ha’aretz:

coalition haaretz

The BBC, however, has a different idea:


That statement appeared in an article published on the BBC News website on May 25th under the headline “Avigdor Lieberman named as Israel’s defence minister“. Five days earlier, before the agreement had been reached, BBC audiences had been told that:coalition art

“The deal would shore up Mr Netanyahu’s one-seat majority in parliament. […]

If his [Lieberman’s] six-seat Yisrael Beiteinu party joins the coalition, it will become the most right-wing in Israel’s history.”

As was noted here at the time:

“In fact, the day before this article was published, Yisrael Beiteinu had already become a five-seat faction due to the resignation from the party (but not from the Knesset) of MK Orly Levy-Abekasis.”

Whilst the May 25th article was later amended to include some decidedly predictable comment from Saeb Erekat and ‘analysis’ from Kevin Connolly which includes the apparently now standard mention of “a former nightclub bouncer”, the very simple – but distinctly less colourful – topic of how many seats the coalition government now holds remained inaccurately portrayed.

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