Early Elections in Israel Appear Likely as Coalition Rocked by Conscription Bill Debate

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)
Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP

The Times of Israel reports: With the Israeli political scene galloping toward a snap vote, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan launched a fierce defense of the justice system on Sunday, warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that victory at the ballot box would not clear his name of serious corruption allegations.

Early elections seemed all but unavoidable on Sunday evening, after the spiritual leaders of a major ultra-Orthodox party rejected a compromise on a conscription bill that has roiled the coalition.

Ultra-Orthodox coalition parties threatened last week to vote down the 2019 budget unless legislation is approved this week exempting members of their communities from the military draft, while Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has threatened to quit his post — and, some pundits suggested, possibly the coalition — if the budget isn’t passed this week. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has also threatened to pull his Yisrael Beytenu party out of the coalition should the ultra-Orthodox have their way.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: According to reports in the Israeli news media, Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox coalition members reached an understanding whereby Netanyahu would support the conscription bill in question and bring it to a vote in the Knesset. Still, the draft bill would require the approval of Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman and Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon.

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