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Netanyahu coalition dies, Israeli election called for April

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:33 am    Post subject: Netanyahu coalition dies, Israeli election called for April Reply with quote

Early elections in Israel as Benjamin Netanyahu disbands government
The decision to call the election follows months of turmoil in Israel, including corruption allegations involving Mr Netanyahu.
15:35, UK, Monday 24 December 2018
https://news.sky.com/story/early-elections-in-israel-as-benjamin-netan yahu-dissolves-parliament-11591017

By Alan McGuinness, news reporter

Israel's coalition government has agreed to hold early elections, amid a crisis over a military conscription bill and corruption investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr Netanyahu, who has been in office since 2009, said the decision was a "unanimous" one and the poll will be held in April.

Under law, a fresh election has to be held by November 2019.

At a meeting of his Likud party, Mr Netanyahu listed his achievements in office and said he hoped the current religious, nationalistic coalition would form the "core" of the next government.

The latest opinion polls forecast another solid victory for Mr Netanyahu, although corruption claims could put paid to that.

The decision to call the election follows months of turmoil in Israeli politics.

Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defence minister last month because he feels the government has been too weak in responding to rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

However, a separate crisis appears to be the cause of the decision to call an early election - a new law extending the military draft to ultra-Orthodox men.

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Mr Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox partners have demanded the legislation be watered down, but the PM only has a wafer-thin parliamentary majority.

The bill is controversial because ultra-Orthodox parties view conscription as taboo, fearing serving in the military will lead to immersion in secularism.

But exemptions have caused widespread resentment among the rest of Jewish Israelis.

Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, announced earlier on Monday that he was withdrawing his support for the bill.

He said the coalition's potential compromise was a bad deal and his party "will not give a hand to draft dodging".

Another win for Mr Netanyahu would see him become Israel's longest serving leader and allow him to continue his close alliance with US President Donald Trump.

But the potential for criminal charges over a slew of corruption allegations could finish the Israeli PM's political career.

Police have recommended Mr Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in three separate cases.

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