Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Responding to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statement that if an agreement on the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC) was not reached, new elections would be held, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said there was no reason to hold early elections.

"There are many issues which need to be dealt with," Katz said. "For a disagreement on communications, we will not hold new elections."

Katz also said there had been no discussions with Likud management, and no decision had been made regarding elections.

Netanyahu flew to China on Saturday night.

Before his departure, Netanyahu said, "The Israeli government exists because of coalition agreements. In our coalition agreement, every party committed to support the Likud's decision on communications issues, including the decision to close the IPBC. The only question was one of budget.

"This year, the Israel Broadcasting Authority's (IBA) budget was less than what it would cost to open the IPBC, and the IBA is willing to work to make their budget even more efficient.

"Therefore, there is no budget problem - so why do we need the IPBC?

"The Likud has 30 mandates. There are issues which we do not agree with our coalition partners on, or that the entire Likud opposes, such as taxing owners of three or more apartments, but we respected our coalition agreements.

"When it comes to issues which are important to the Likud and to myself, our coalition partners do not respect us. This is unacceptable."

Previously, Netanyahu had promised to support the creation of the IPBC. However, after he listened to IBA employees on Friday, Netanyahu changed his mind and decided to recant his support for the IPBC, leaving it up to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) to decide whether or not to allow the issue to break apart the coalition.

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