Israeli ministers advance bill in bid to prevent early polls

Israeli ministers advance bill in bid to prevent early polls

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.

On Monday, Netanyahu called for solidarity in the coalition, telling all partners, "chiefly among them Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to remain in the government and continue this partnership to ensure security, prosperity and stability for the state of Israel".

The coalition has been at loggerheads since ultra-Orthodox parties said they would not support next year's budget unless a law is passed to exempt religious students from military service.

Critics have accused the prime minister of manufacturing a crisis to distract from his legal woes and push snap elections in a bid for a new mandate ahead of a possible indictment.

"Prime Minister, to topple a right-wing government over nothing would be a historic mistake similar in size to the fall of the Shamir government in 1992", she tweeted, referring to the collapse of the coalition, led by Likud's Yitzhak Shamir, and the election that resulted in victory for Labor's Yitzhak Rabin.

Netanyahu could call for early elections, both as a way to shore up his narrow coalition and affirm his public standing in the face of multiple corruption charges.

While the corruption scandals swirling around Netanyahu were in focus during the coalition crisis, the main issue at hand was technical.

A number of votes must occur before the end of the week to greatly lessen the chances of early elections.

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Another witness, Sushil Chandhury said the plane was "approaching from the opposite direction" to which aircrafts usually land. The parent company, part of US-Bangla Group, is involved in sectors that include real estate, education and agriculture.

Should he follow through and leave the government, Netanyahu would be left with the razor-thin 61-member coalition it had before Lieberman came on board in May 2016.

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

Netanyahu has been prime minister for a total of 12 years, from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009.

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. I am not saying there couldn't be one in the future, but right now there is none", Netanyahu said, two officials at the meeting told Axios.

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.

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".

The political tremor comes as Netanyahu and his close associates are involved in at least four corruption cases.

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