Netanyahu meeting convinces coalition partners elections on the way

A meeting of coalition heads in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government ended with the general feeling that elections would be moved up to early 2019.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, party leaders in his coalition government left convinced that elections would be held in early 2019.

Netanyahu remained ambiguous about when elections might be held, according to a Channel 10 report. He  said at the meeting that political crises, specifically the issues of ultra-Orthodox recruitment and religious conversion would cause coalition members to lose seats in the Knesset, and therefore holding elections in the near future was imperative.

The coalition leaders reportedly set conditions that must be met in order for the government to complete its four-year term, including avoiding what they termed “populist bills” and budget-related bills.

Earlier, Netanyahu reportedly said during a meeting of Likud ministers that “I hear that they are asking if there are elections and when … The answer is that there is no decision.”

Sources close to Netanyahu said Sunday that he was making efforts to bring about a legislative solution to the recruitment crisis, but that a decision on whether or not to move elections forward isn’t expected before the Knesset reconvenes next week. Nevertheless, they say the chances are much higher that elections will be moved up than not.

The next elections are currently slated for November 2019. Analysts estimate that they may take place as early as February.