There is growing speculation among members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition that the latter is deliberately avoiding a solution to the draft bill crisis in order to lead the country to early elections.

Photo credit: Flash 90

After a succession of talks with leaders of ultra-Orthodox parties has failed to resolve the coalition crisis over the draft bill, voices in the coalition are suggesting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is deliberately avoiding a solution in order to lead Israel to early elections for his own political gain.

“Nobody wants elections at the moment, it’s bad for the country and for its citizens,” said Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Education Minister and the leader of HaBayit Hayehudi party, one of Netanyahu’s most prominent coalition partners. “Elections cost millions and they need to be held in their scheduled time. We’re not a third world country.”

Bennett’s statement in a radio interview came after a night of intense discussions between Netanyahu and leaders of ultra-Orthodox parties, during which the prime minister set a number of tough conditions for resolving the crisis.

“The public needs to know, this is not a real crisis. It’s fake and unnecessary,” Bennett said, adding that the Israeli public would “settle the score” with Netanyahu if he were to go to early elections for no substantial reason. “We (HaBayit Hayehudi) would also consider running head-to-head for the country’s leadership.”

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has already made it clear he will quit the government if the crisis isn’t resolved by Thursday, when the Knesset goes on its Passover break.