Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on November 18, 2018
Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose coalition now has only a very slim majority in parliament, reiterated Sunday his opposition to the holding of early elections, announcing a “last attempt” to convince his allies to rally to his position.
After the resignation of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Israelist party Israel Beitenou (5 deputies), on Wednesday, the government now has only one majority vote in the 120-member parliament.
Lieberman, a supporter of a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, wanted to protest the indirect cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian Hamas Islamists and its allies after the hardest fighting in the Gaza Strip. enclave since the war of 2014.
After this defection, the support of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, leader of the center-right Koulanou party (10 deputies) became vital to the prime minister. But Kahlon has called for elections “as soon as possible” while the current legislature should end in November 2019.
– “Revolution” –
“In such a sensitive period of security, going to the polls would be a mistake, and tonight I will meet with Minister Kahlon for one last attempt to avoid the fall of the government,” said the head of state. Israeli government at the opening of the Council of Ministers.
Another member of the coalition, Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and leader of the religious nationalist Jewish Home Party (8 deputies), for his part, demanded to inherit the portfolio of Defense. Without this party, Mr. Netanyahu would no longer have a majority.
On Friday, the Prime Minister rejected the request and announced that he intended to temporarily take over the ministry.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, number two of the Jewish Home, reaffirmed Sunday again that her party was demanding the wallet.
“The only justification for the continued existence of the government until next November is that Naftali Bennett imposes a revolution in security issues and restores Israel’s deterrent power,” she said. .
“The Israelis are tired of voting for the right and having the left (…) That is why we must go as quickly as possible to elections and form a new government led by Netanyahu with on his right a strong Jewish home “she added.
According to several media sources quoting the Prime Minister’s office, Netanayuhu is considering granting the defense ministry to Bennett in exchange for his party’s commitment to remain in government until the end of the legislature.
– “A hat rabbit” –
Kahlon, meanwhile, said Saturday night that he will listen to what the Prime Minister has to say about how he intends to handle the political crisis.
“Maybe he’ll take a rabbit out of his hat,” Kahlon said on television. “For the moment, he has not convinced me, I will vote for the dissolution of the government,” he warned.
Mr. Netanyahu’s relatives have stepped up to support his efforts. Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev said it is “possible to arrange with a coalition of 61 deputies”.
Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism also considers that there is “no justification for the dissolution of a government that works well.”
Netanyahu, for his part, once again waved the threat of a return to power for the left, recalling that two Likud-led governments had fallen as a result of the defection of its far-right allies.
“This culminated in 1992 and 1999 in the disaster of Oslo and the disaster of the second intifada,” warned the prime minister. He was referring to the Palestinian self-government agreements reached in 1993 by the Labor-led government of Yitzhak Rabin and the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000 when Ehud Barak, another Labor leader, was in power.