Israeli politicians suspect Netanyahu seeks election to survive corruption probe

Lester Mason
March 13, 2018

On Monday, it appeared that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had come to a temporary solution, satisfying the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties by agreeing to extend the IDF draft exemptions.

But Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who leads the Yisrael Beiteinu party, has called the legislation a "classic fake law". The bill will be brought before Israeli lawmakers amid threats by opposition parties to dissolve the Knesset if it passes.

Polls released by Israel's main news channels Monday night showed Yisrael Beytenu barely squeaking into the Knesset.

After a truly intricate dance between a nor'easter of raindrops, the Netanyahu government coalition has managed to avoid a coalition collapse and the inevitable early elections that would result.

As the protector, in his ministerial capacity, of universal conscription, which the ultra-Orthodox seek to challenge by introducing legislation that would exempt their yeshiva students, and as a staunch secularist who seeks to curb the domination of haredim, Lieberman refuses to be part of a compromise that would save the present coalition by making further concessions to them. Netanyahu would go on to study at MIT, serve in the Israeli army, and become Israel's longest-serving prime minister. But rival parties have threatened to bolt the coalition over the issue, raising the possibility of early elections. "I have the deepest feelings about the United States", Netanyahu said.

In his speech, Netanyahu made no mention of the scandals, but said he had no fears of holding a new election. Several Kulanu MKs have previously stated they would join Lieberman in opposing the bill.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he would resign if the budget does not pass in the Knesset's winter session, which ends on March 18.


Polls suggest Netanyahu could remain prime minister in fresh elections despite the corruption allegations.

Lieberman vowed on Tuesday that his Yisrael Beitenu party would "vote as one against the bill" as it stands now.

Should Lieberman and his party quit, Netanyahu's coalition could in theory continue with a one-seat majority in parliament.

Netanyahu could call for early elections, both as a way to shore up his narrow coalition and affirm his public standing in the face of multiple corruption charges.

Israel's attorney general is expected to make a decision on an indictment by the fall.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal if Germany, France and the U.K.do not meet his demands, according to a new report from Axios.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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