Netanyahu Reaches Compromise With Coalition Partners to Avoid Early Elections

Netanyahu Reaches Compromise With Coalition Partners to Avoid Early Elections

Israel's government reached a compromise on Tuesday to avoid an early election, overcoming a Cabinet crisis over a controversial bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox Jews from compulsory military service.

Earlier in the morning, the government's Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in favor of the bill following overnight talks between Netanyahu and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners for an agreed version of the bill.

After Tuesday's deal, he stood before parliament and taunted opposition leaders, claiming they were afraid of early elections even though they had publicly pushed for them.

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.

Some in Netanyahu's right-wing coalition suggested the prime minister was deliberately allowing the crisis to worsen to expedite elections for personal reasons.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he wants the coalition to last its entire term, which ends in November next year.

Citing "coalition sources", Haaretz reported that "Netanyahu's pivot was because he did not believe he would secure a majority to dissolve the Knesset and hold elections in late June".

The ultra-Orthodox parties demanded the government grant the exemptions.

After the deal was announced on Tuesday night, Netanyahu told parliament that "I promised to do everything possible so that this government that has had magnificent success remain in place, and I kept my promise". "But we're not there yet", Netanyahu said later on Monday.

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The coalition was close to collapse for days, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was starting to enter electioneering mode, declaring that his Likud party could win elections.

Under the compromise, ultra-Orthodox parties agreed to support the budget if the conscription legislation passes an initial parliamentary reading this week, with a final vote to be held this summer.

Under Tuesday's compromise, the five-seat secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, which opposed the bill, will be allowed to vote against it.

Meanwhile, Kulanu party chairman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon had threatened to resign unless the budget was passed this week.

"We shall not volunteer to leave the government", Lieberman said.

The other alleges he sought a secret deal with the publisher of a top-selling newspaper for favourable coverage.

The police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu in two bribery cases, but the attorney general is still reviewing the evidence to decide whether to charge Netanyahu.

Netanyahu vehemently denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, saying he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt by an overaggressive police force and a hostile media aimed at toppling him.

Watching Netanyahu address the Knesset the other day I found it impossible not to be impressed by his stamina and his arguments why he's the best possible prime minister of Israel and his coalition a reflection of it.

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