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Israel to Hold Early Parliamentary Elections on April 9

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Israel to Hold Early Parliamentary Elections on April 9

Netanyahu, who currently serves as the country's defense minister, foreign minister, immigration minister and health minister, will be running for his fifth term as prime minister

Adi Pick   :  2018-12-24T14:42:48..

On Monday, Israel’s ruling coalition parties announced a date for the country’s next parliamentary elections. The leaders of the coalition headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they agreed unanimously to dissolve the parliament and hold elections following a four-year term. They stated that "the partnership in the Knesset and the government will continue during the elections.”

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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid announced at a press conference in the Knesset Monday that he will be voting against the bill which calls for the mandatory enlistment of Haredi men and places a financial burden on institutions that don’t meet conscription quotas, and that the country will be going to elections.

 

While Yesh Atid is not part of Netanyahu’s coalition, Lapid’s backtrack regarding the “Haredi Draft bill” put Netanyahu in the corner, essentially establishing that the bill will not pass. Netanyahu heavily relied on Lapid’s support as some of his coalition members threatened to leave the coalition if the bill passed.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting of coalition heads on Monday to debate the bill. Following the meeting, it was announced that elections will be held on April 9.

 

Netanyahu, who currently serves as the country's defense minister, foreign minister, immigration minister and health minister, will be running for his fifth term as prime minister.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: AP צילום: איי פי

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned last month following two days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza. Lieberman, who heads the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, also announced his party will be leaving Netanyahu's ruling coalition government, leaving Netanyahu with a razor-thin 61-59 seat coalition.

Israel’s police and the Israel Securities Authority recommended charging Netanyahu and his wife Sara with fraud and bribery earlier this month. The recommendations are the culmination of “Case 4,000,” one of several investigations involving Netanyahu that are currently in progress.

Having started in 2017 as an investigation concerning security violations at Israel’s biggest telecommunication company Bezeq, the probe uncovered potential evidence that Netanyahu gave the company preferential regulatory treatment in exchange for positive coverage of him and his wife on Walla, an Israeli news site owned by Bezeq.

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Members of opposition parties called on the Israeli prime minister to step down following the publication of police recommendations. Members of Netanyahu’s Likud party criticized Israeli police for the recommendation to press charges.

Israeli police have previously recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery charges in two other cases. 

Tamar Zandberg, the head of left-wing party Meretz, said in a press interview that the move came as a surprise.

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