PM Netanyahu Rejects Call For Early Elections in Israel

PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that early elections in Israel would be a disaster for the country. Netanyahu categorically rejected calls for early elections as “irresponsible,” although pressure from his coalition partners could bring down his government and make the polls inevitable.

Led by Moshe Kahlon, Kulanu’s party is in the ruling coalition and has 10 seats in the Knesset. The political crisis in Israel has arisen as a result of the resignation on Wednesday of the Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman.

On Friday, the Prime Minister held consultations with Naftali Bennett the leader of the Jewish House Party, who is in charge of the post of Minister of Defense, who heads the education ministry in the current cabinet.

No agreement was reached at the meeting, and the position of Kahlon, insisting on early elections, played a decisive role in this. Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest against the Prime Minister’s decision to conclude a truce with the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip after a three-day armed confrontation.

He also withdrew his party from the ruling coalition, leaving the coalition with a majority of just one vote in the Knesset. The Jewish House Party is the third largest in the coalition. If Benet decides to leave the coalition, the Likud party, led by Netanyahu, will have no choice but to hold early elections.

Although Benet had previously spoken in favour of holding such elections, Netanyahu objected to them. Moshe Kahlon also said that he doubted the possibility of maintaining the coalition.

The mandate of the current government expires in November 2019. It has been in power since March 2015. It is composed mainly of right-wing nationalist and religious parties that reject the possibility of creating a Palestinian state.

In Israel, there is a system of proportional representation, which means that all governments created in the country are coalitional because of the inability of one party to get a sufficient majority in the Knesset.

Although Netanyahu does not want to hold early elections, all polls show that he remains popular among voters, and his Likud party has the most support.

Naphtali Benet and Benjamin Netanyahu

However, even if Likud remains the largest party in the Knesset, this does not mean that it can retain power if other parties form a new coalition without its participation. Benjamin Netanyahu has already won four elections. If he manages to keep his post until May 31, 2019, he will surpass the term of his tenure as prime minister of the founder of the state and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

Operation in Gaza

Last Sunday, the Israeli military conducted an operation in the Gaza Strip, which led to a worsening of the situation. On Monday and Tuesday, the Palestinians fired 460 missiles at Israel, the Israeli military attacked and hit 160 targets in the Gaza Strip. As a result of mutual shelling, eight people were killed.

The next escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas has become the largest since 2014. On Tuesday, with the mediation of Egypt, a cease-fire agreement was concluded between Israel and Hamas.

Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett considered this agreement an act of surrender by Israel and opposed it. Lieberman said that in such conditions he could not remain as the Minister of Defense.

Bennett demanded that the ambassador of the head of the military department be handed over to him, so that, as he said, Israel would again be able to gain the upper hand in a military confrontation with the Palestinians.

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