Israeli PM and cabinet discuss early elections as cabinet resignations threaten majority

Israeli PM and cabinet discuss early elections as cabinet resignations threaten majority

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with his cabinet ministers to decide on a date for early general elections.

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Photo: Reuters

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with his cabinet ministers to decide on a date for early general elections.

The meeting comes on the heels of high profile resignations within Mr Netanyahu’s coalition. The cabinet’s ultra-conservative defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned last Wednesday due to Netanyahu’s ceasefire with Hamas leadership in Gaza. The far right views the ceasefire, which ended eight months of periodic violence, the most intense since 2014, as a weakening of Israel’s security.

On Friday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett followed Mr Lieberman’s lead, quitting the coalition. Without Mr Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu or Mr Bennett’s Jewish Home far-right parties, the governing coalition holds only 53 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, forcing the prime minister to call for elections with one year remaining in his term.

While Netanyahu has been embroiled in corruption investigations, he and his Likud party remain strong in the polls, so he would likely maintain power after the elections. Voters harbouring disaffections regarding the Gaza ceasefire would only move further right, so expect Israel’s right-wing government to survive this political turbulence. The next coalition may adopt even more hard-line stances against Palestinian authorities, though.

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