Israeli PM describes early elections as mistake

Clay Curtis
November 19, 2018

"During a period like this you don't go to elections", he said.

But even as he prepared to speak, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a key coalition partner and one of Netanyahu's main right-wing rivals, announced he would give his own statement on Monday morning.

Netanyahu said in his address that he meant to retain the defence portfolio at least for now.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusale.

"I know what to do and when to do it", he added.

Netanyahu said heading to elections now, amid repeated violent confrontations with Gaza militants, was "irresponsible" of his coalition partners, who have been pushing for early polls since the resignation last week of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman over a Gaza ceasefire.

Liberman's resignation over what he called an "inadequate" response to ongoing Gaza violence left Netanyahu with a razor-thin one seat majority in parliament, throwing his right-wing government into turmoil.

"National security is beyond politics", Netanyahu said in his speech on Sunday.

Axios reported the so-called peace team has been readying the content for weeks, and the meeting was scheduled a month ago.

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"Meanwhile, I don't see a rabbit or a hat". Bennett and Kahlon both said they expect elections to produce another conservative government under Netanyahu.

Netanyahu met with Kahlon on Sunday in order to find a solution to the deadlock, but the talks brought no results.

A source close to Bennett said the two had agreed that "it would be senseless to continue" with the same coalition.

The study carried out by Yifat Media Check Ltd. and Hamashrokit - "The Whistle" fact-checking NGO - found that most statements made by top Israeli politicians in the past year were either totally or mostly wrong. When a truce was reached through United Nations and Egyptian mediation on Tuesday, Lieberman blasted the deal as "capitulation to terror" and quit.

He also slammed Netanyahu's recent decision to allow Qatar to send millions of dollars in aid to the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

Referring to last week's feeble campaign in Gaza, Bennett said: "Following the firing of more than 530 Hamas rockets at Israeli communities and a missile at a bus with soldiers, we suddenly tell ourselves that everything is all right and that Hamas is as dismayed as it has ever been".

A poll published after the ceasefire found 74 percent of respondents were unhappy with Netanyahu's handling of the escalation with Gaza and its Islamist rulers Hamas, though it also showed his party would still easily win the most seats.

Elections now are slated for November 2019, but no Israeli coalition in the past 30 years has served out its term. The country has always been eagerly awaiting the attorney general's decision on whether to press charges.

The research found that Netanyahu's false remarks on Iran were considered as credible by 88 percent of readers and viewers in Israel.

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