Netanyahu and Litzman
Netanyahu and LitzmanAbir Sultan/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Friday afternoon that he will convene a special meeting on Saturday night, after Shabbat, attended by representatives of the Likud and haredi parties, in order to resolve the coalition crisis over the draft law.

Netanyahu arrived in Israel on Friday morning following his visit to the United States.

Saturday night’s meeting will be attended by Netanyahu, United Torah Judaism representatives Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni, Shas representative Aryeh Deri and Likud ministers Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin.

The coalition crisis began last month, when UTJ warned Netanyahu it would not support the passage of the 2019 budget unless the government backed a UTJ-backed amendment to the Draft Law.

Failure to pass the budget could topple the Netanyahu government and lead to snap elections.

The Yisrael Beytenu party, headed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, rejects the suggested amendment to the law and demands that haredim not be exempt from military service.

On Thursday, Liberman lambasted UTJ, in particular Deputy Health Minister Litzman, claiming that the Israeli government had been hijacked by “extremist elements”.

"In recent days, Israel has been taken captive by a group of extremist elements, who are threatening to drag us all into unnecessary elections, in a difficult security situation, and demand that we surrender to their blackmail," Liberman said.

On Friday, Liberman rejected efforts to achieve a compromise on the Draft Law, calling the proposed bill “surrender” to intransigent haredi demands.

“The bill being put together at the moment is not actually a compromise – it’s a letter of surrender to an act of extortion,” he tweeted.

“Anyone who wants to surrender to extortion,” continued Liberman, “may do so. But Yisrael Beytenu will only support a [draft law] bill drawn up by the security establishment and the IDF. When it comes to security, there can be no compromise.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)