Erdogan and Netanyahu begin new war of words

25 December, 2018, 00:34 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement at the Knesset in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds

On the right, Mr Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, could both seek to lead a right-wing bloc if Likud emerges in a weaker position in an election.

Now in his fourth term as prime minister, he will go to the polls facing the possibility of being charged with bribery and corruption in three separate cases.

The country's attorney general is now deciding whether to press charges.

But a new law extending the military draft to ultra-Orthodox men appears to have triggered the government's downfall.

Netanyahu's coalition was left with a one-seat majority in parliament following defence minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation in November over a controversial Gaza ceasefire deal. The Justice Ministry announced today that deliberations were continuing and were "not dependent on political events".

JERUSALEM Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today called early elections for April, setting the stage for a three-month campaign clouded by a series of corruption investigations against the long-serving Israeli leader.

The move comes as the coalition struggles to reach a consensus on the hotly debated bill related to exemptions from compulsory service for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Earlier today, Lapid, a harsh critic of the religious parties, said he was rescinding his support for the draft bill, saying the planned compromise essentially rewarded draft dodgers.

As a result, Mr Netanyahu convened his fellow coalition faction leaders and the decision was made to dissolve parliament and go to elections.

Mr Netanyahu has denied all of the allegations against him, claiming they are part of a media-driven witch hunt.

"He wants to win". Charges against the prime minister is expected in the next several months, but the early elections could influence the attorney general's timing.

Though the polls now don't bode well for most of the centre and left-wing opposition parties, there was widespread excitement among them at the prospect of a new election.

"The hourglass toward the end of the Netanyahu's rule has begun its path", it said in a statement.

The government was expected to dissolve the Knesset by a parliamentary vote in the coming days, and the two largest political parties were expected to hold internal primaries in February, as Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein confirmed that national elections would be held on April 9.

Netanyahu, who also served a term in the late 1990s, has been prime minister for the past decade.

Since then, elections have nearly always been moved up because of a coalition crisis or as a strategic move by the prime minister to maximise his chance of re-election.

"We have neutralized it and the operation is mostly over", he said.



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