Is Israel heading to snap elections?

Since Liberman’s resignation, political indicators point to Israel’s return to the ballot to elect a new government.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

A tumultous week on the Israeli political scene points to early elections within 90 days, senior coalition officials estimate.

Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation on Wednesday, leaving the Likud-led government with a narrow coalition of 61 Members of Knesset.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted by saying he had no interest in moving up the elections. He immediately began a round of consultations with senior Likud figures and leaders of the coalition parties in an effort to stabilize the government.

The Yedioth Aharonoth daily quoted a senior coalition official as saying that the prime minister “does not want to give Liberman the credit that he led to the elections and caused the collapse of the government … There is one person who sets the agenda, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu.”

However, Minister of Education Naftali Bennett presented Netanyahu with an ultimatum Wednesday evening: Give us the defense portfolio or my Jewish Home party will quit the coalition.

Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, whose Kulanu party is part of the coalition, met with Netanyahu on Thursday, telling him that it was in the country’s best interest to dissolve the government hold elections.

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“In the current situation, the right thing for the citizens of Israel and the Israeli economy is to go to an election as soon as possible,” Kahlon advised.

With coalition instability being the reality in the foreseeable future, Khalon said that projects and lawmaking will needlessly be held up, in which case early elections are the best option.

Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri of the Shas party followed Khalon’s lead and called to dissolve the government.

The Degel Hatorah party, on the other hand, believes Netanyahu should give Bennett the defense portfolio and maintain the current political status.