Israeli PM Netanyahu Reaches Deal With Allies to Avert Early Election

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

Netanyahu's opponents have accused him of creating an artificial crisis, potentially triggering elections a year and a half ahead of schedule, in order to shore up his position as he fights the corruption allegations.

The inability of Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu to coexist with the ultra-Orthodox, however, will remain a major obstacle to a far-right coalition surviving, unless such parties gain enough seats to push Lieberman into the opposition, or Netanyahu is able to court one of the centrist parties to replace the religious ones.

Lieberman has promised if PM Netanyahu makes a deal with the chareidim regarding a draft law, he will immediately break from the coalition.

Lieberman has said that he would only support legislation that is drafted by a committee of military officials.

The bottom line is that no matter what he does, to chareidim it is clear, the bulk of the bnei torah population will not be serving in the IDF no matter what new law comes about. Mr Netanyahu took much of the fire.

Earlier in the day and following the coalition talks, Netanyahu's office announced that the cabinet ministers were waiting for ultra-Orthodox parties, which control 13 of the government's 66 seats in the 120-member Knesset, to present a revised version for the bill.

Netanyahu spoke at length of the threat posed by Iran, whom he said wanted to build an empire, starting with the current land corridor of sympathetic governments it has built to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. During a Saturday night meeting, Netanyahu suggested that the budget be passed this week in return for advancing the ultra-Orthodox draft bill.

A compromise in the works would at least postpone the crisis, if not outright resolve it.

"I said that the nuclear agreement with Iran contains within it many dangers for the world, including the special danger of the nuclearization of the Middle East", Netanyahu said, according to a statement released on his behalf.

Three of his former associates have signed state witness deals with police.

Israeli police have recommended indicting Mr Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases and his close associates have been implicated in another case.

The other alleges he sought a secret deal with the publisher of a top-selling newspaper for favourable coverage. He has been prime minister for a total of 12 years, from 1996-1999 and again since 2009.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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