Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with the leader of the UTJ faction Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on Sunday night, in an effort to reach an agreement with regards to the current coalition crisis surrounding the IDF Conscription Law.
The meeting is taking place following the issuing of a letter by the Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel of Agudas Yisroel that told their Knesset members that no change should be made with regards to their demand that the Draft Law be passed in all three readings in the Knesset before the party will be allowed to vote on the 2019 Budget.
The Moetzes of Agudas Yisroel forms the Rabbinical oversight committee for the three Agudas Yisroel Knesset members and instructs them on how to vote in the Knesset. Netanyahu is meeting with Litzman in the hopes of reaching some kind of agreement that will prevent early elections.
Earlier, Justice Minster Ayelet Shaked told Ynet that: “There are at least three viable options on the table with regards to finding a solution to the current crisis. These are solutions that both the Charedim as well as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman can accept. The question is, do the parties in play want to solve the crisis, or woud they rather drag the country through an unnecessary set of elections and dismantle a right-wing government.”
Shaked added: “I believe that dismantling this government, which works well and is doing work that hasn’t been done before, would be highly irresponsible on the part of those who bring it down.”
Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with Chairmen Moshe Kahlon of the Kulanu Party and Avigdor Liberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu parties tonight, in the hopes that he will be able to reach a compromise with them as well.
Members of Netanyahu’s government have been quarreling over whether to extend military draft exemptions afforded to Yeshiva Bochrim. Chareidi MK’s say they will not vote for the 2019 budget without the draft exemptions, while Avigdor Lieberman has vowed to bolt the coalition if the budget isn’t passed soon.
Israeli media reported that elections could be held as early as June, if a motion to dissolve Israel’s parliament is tabled this week.
A deal to save the government can still be achieved, but coalition partners were digging in their heels and blaming each other for the current crisis. Netanyahu took much of the fire.
“If the prime minister will decide to take the whole country to personal elections that will cost billions, that will paralyze the market, then that’s really serious and the public will settle accounts with him,” coalition partner and Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Israeli Army Radio.
Meanwhile, Israeli police have recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases and his close associates have been implicated in another case.
Netanyahu has vehemently denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, saying he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt by an overaggressive police force and a hostile media aimed at toppling him.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem / AP)