Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Justice minister: Dissolving government would be 'historic mistake'

Justice minister: Dissolving government would be 'historic mistake'

Netanyahu separately called on all coalition partners - "first and foremost Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman" - to remain in the government.

The dispute centres on ultra-Orthodox parties having demanded that the conscription bill be passed before they agree to vote for the 2019 budget.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Coalition head David Amsalem at a Likud party faction meeting at the Knesset on February 26, 2018.

Earlier Tuesday, Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud) told Army Radio, "Likud and the prime minister aren't interested in elections but also aren't anxious about them". "The people of Israel do not need elections, which would go against the electoral interests of Yisrael Beytenu and the personal interests of Avigdor Liberman".

The threat by Likud MKs, the source said, was conveyed by Amsalem to Netanyahu who then postponed a meeting of the Ministererial Committee for Legislation in order to craft an agreement that allowed Landver to stay in government and vote against the bill. The primary will be held March 22.

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Calling the situation an "imaginary crisis", Shaked called on Netanyahu not to call for early elections.

Lieberman later told lawmakers from his Yisrael Beitenu party that he would continue to oppose the legislation, but would remain in the government for now.

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu did not have enough votes in the Knesset to bring down the government and trigger early elections.

However, the secularist right-wing partners object to such a bill, saying the ultra-Orthodox should "share the burden" of military service.

"Today we have discovered who is really afraid of elections", he said.

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When probed as to how the peace process to end the conflict with the Palestinians was progressing, Netanyahu said only that the final deal would take some time, adding: "Israel now gives a high priority to its new relations with the Arab countries".

Meanwhile, Kulanu party chairman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon had threatened to resign unless the budget was passed this week. Netanyahu teased political rivals at a speech in the Knesset plenum following the agreement, referring to the scenario of early elections being called.

The 68-year-old premier could soon face charges in at least two separate corruption affairs, while investigations are continuing into two others. He is further embattled by deals signed recently by two of his former confidants that will see them testify against him in a third case.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was educated in the United States and he visits frequently because he loves America and believes it has been a force for good in the world.

He is not required to step down if indicted - only after he is convicted with all appeals exhausted - though political pressure would surely mount.

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