Will new Knesset be dissolved this week?
Likud party preparing to pass bill dissolving the new Knesset by Wednesday if coalition talks fail.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced plans Sunday to advance a bill to dissolve the 21st Knesset – less than two months after it was elected.
Netanyahu made the announcement during a meeting of Likud ministers Sunday afternoon, as talks to form a new coalition government remain at an impasse.
During the meeting Sunday, Netanyahu blamed Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avidgor Liberman for the failure to reach a compromise agreement with haredi lawmakers which would pave the way for a new governing coalition.
“The haredim moved in Liberman’s direction,” said Netanyahu. “We can solve this crisis, but I guess someone doesn’t want to.”
“Liberman is looking for any excuse to topple me. The public will never forgive him if he takes us to elections twice in one year,” Netanyahu continued.
The Prime Minister added that if no compromise can be worked out before the deadline Wednesday, Israel will head to snap elections.
“If there will be no choice, then we’ll pass a law dissolving the Knesset on Wednesday.”
At the same time, the Likud’s negotiating team is continuing its efforts to bring Yisrael Beytenu and the haredi factions to a compromise that would allow both sides to join the new government.
With five seats of the 65 total mandates won by the right-wing – religious bloc in last month’s election, Yisrael Beytenu is essential for Netanyahu to build a working majority government.
Netanyahu has until Wednesday to form a new government – or risk President Reuven Rivlin nominating a rival candidate to attempt to form a coalition.
Yisrael Beytenu and the two haredi factions – Shas and United Torah Judaism – have been at odds over Yisrael Beytenu’s proposed modifications to the haredi draft law.
The bill, drawn up by a committee of defense officials at Liberman’s behest, would largely retain the present draft deferment program for yeshiva students, while adding measures to pressure the haredi community to meet draft quotas set by the defense ministry.
The hared parties, by contrast, have pushed for maintaining the present system.