Coalition breakup?
Likud Warns 'Coalition Cannot Continue Like This'

Senior Likud sources reveal Netanyahu doesn't want early elections, but likely has no choice given his coalition partners' behavior.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash 90

Senior sources in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party spoke on Thursday about the likelihood of early Knesset elections, and the chances the current coalition has of surviving given the ever-increasing tensions between its various members.

"The Prime Minister isn't interested in elections, but at the same time it's impossible to continue in a situation where coalition members act like opposition members," the sources said.

Criticizing the coalition members, the sources added "they disparage the government they are members of and level ultimatums. It's impossible to manage a country this way."

Key coalition members Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) last month declared a leftist front, and Lapid shortly afterwards reportedly threatened to form an alternate coalition.

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who also serves as Jerusalem Affairs Minister and is a key member of the coalition, likewise said in light of the crumbling security and rising Arab terrorism in Jerusalem that his own government "has no right to exist."

On Wednesday, reports said Netanyahu met with the hareidi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism in an apparent attempt to find a replacement for his current coalition. However, a hareidi political source told Arutz Sheva that no such meeting occurred, and that Netanyahu is asking for hareidi support but has not presented any clear proposals to meet hareidi demands.

The coalition has been divided on a bevy of issues, with the most recent - and perhaps most threatening to its continued existence - being the Jewish State Law.

Netanyahu on Wednesday night spoke in the Knesset presenting the bill and his support for it, at which he was heckled by leftist MKs. Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) used the opportunity to call for a new government.

In terms of the Jewish State Law, Netanyahu is preparing his version of the bill, which would take out the move to relegate Arabic to being a "special status" language instead of an official language, and would equate the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel as opposed to the original bill that emphasized Israel as the Jewish state.

Critics have said Netanyahu's version of the bill is watered down, to the point that it lacks the effect of enshrining Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people in state law for which the law was drafted in the first place.




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