Netanyahu to Host Last Ditch Talks to Save Crumbling Coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alongside police chief Roni Alshiech

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alongside police chief Roni

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.

The Knesset plenum voted 59-38 in favor of the bill, which would exempt ultra-Orthodox seminary students from the military draft. It requires two more readings before becoming law, but those are likely to take place after the upcoming Knesset recess. Then on Monday, a junior coalition partner, Yisrael Beitenu, said it would not support the compromise.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he wants the coalition to last its entire term, which ends in November 2019, but some coalition members suspect him of allowing a "fake" crisis to worsen to give him the option of forcing elections. Rival parties have threatened to bolt the coalition over the issue, raising the possibility of early elections.

"I call on all the coalition partners, first and foremost Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, to remain in the government and to continue this partnership in order to guarantee security, prosperity and stability for the State of Israel", the prime minister said.

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Netanyahu said beyond that, what he respects and admires about America is its willingness to fight for democracy, freedom, and be a leader on the world stage no matter who opposes it.

At the same time, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wants the budget approved before parliament's current session ends this week and has threatened to quit if it does not happen.

But polls are unreliable and it's, therefore, unlikely that they alone would have made Netanyahu decide to have early elections. However, according to Tuesday's deal, ministers will request that the prime minister not fire her and guarantee it was a one-time incident. Recent polls show the allegations against Netanyahu have not diminished support for his Likud party.

Lieberman, Yisrael Beteinu's leader, said that all five MKs [Members of the Knesset] from his party would vote against the revised bill.

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Although Lieberman has enjoyed a healthy working relationship with Netanyahu and his similarly conservative Likud party, a schism has persistently existed in the coalition between secular parties like Yisrael Beiteinu and orthodox parties like The Jewish Home, Shas and UTJ.

United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal if Germany, France and the United Kingdom do not meet its demands, US President Donald Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their White House meeting.

The 68-year-old premier could soon face charges in at least two separate corruption affairs, while investigations are continuing into two others.

The final word on whether to indict him rests with the attorney-general, a decision that could be months away.

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