Israeli government calls for early elections

Israel’s government coalition decided to go to elections in early April.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

On Monday, coalition leaders in Israel’s government voted unanimously “out of national and budgetary responsibility” to go to elections in early April.

Sources within the government said even prior to this afternoon’s meeting that it would decide whether of not the coalition would continue, Israel’s Channel 11 website reports.

The decision, if approved by a Knesset vote necessitated by Israeli law, would come just over four years after the last Knesset elections, held on March 17, 2015.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called the coalition meeting in an unsuccessful effort to save his coalition by finding an agreement on a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, draft bill. The bill concerns the Army enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

On Sunday, ultra-Orthodox members of the coalition expressed anger that they weren’t informed about renewed discussions in the Knesset committee preparing the recruitment law, Channel 11 reports.

The haredi recruitment law has threatened to bring down the Netanyahu government multiple times in the past.

Netanyahu’s coalition had already been on shaky ground since mid-November when then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation over the government’s handling of Hamas violence emanating from the Gaza Strip.

With the departure of Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, Netanyahu’s government was left with a razor-thin 51 vote majority.