Netanyahu appears unable to persuade Avigdor Liberman to form a right-wing coalition with haredi parties, setting the stage for new elections in the coming months.
By World Israel News Staff and JNS/Israel Hayom
As the final stretch arrived to form a new Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared unable to reach a consensus with coalition linchpin Avigdor Liberman of the Yisrael Beytenu party.
The primary sticking points according to many are the haredi conscription bill and the justice ministry portfolio, with immunity for Netanyahu in several ongoing corruption cases also hanging in the balance.
While Netanyahu and Liberman met on Wednesday evening, those present at the meeting reportedly came away with the impression that Liberman had effectively decided not to join the coalition, but was unwilling to say so, and was comfortable with the prospects of new elections.
In order to necessitate elections, a bill would need to be passed to dissolve the Knesset, which would prevent President Reuven Rivlin from delegating the formation of a coalition to someone other than Netanyahu. A vote on this bill could take place as early as Monday, with Arutz 7 reporting that Netanyahu’s Likud Party had sent members notices requesting their presence at the Knesset on Monday at 4 PM to vote.
On Sunday evening, Netanyahu held another emergency meeting to try to hammer out a coalition agreement, however, Liberman was conspicuously absent, according to Times of Israel.
If the bill to dissolve the Knesset passes, elections will take place 90 days from dissolution, which would happen officially on Wednesday when the deadline to form a new coalition expires.