The government will dissolve the current Knesset and call for early elections next winter, said sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The current Knesset was elected in March 2015, and is to be replaced by new elections on November 5, 2019.

However, Netanyahu’s assistants are considering and currently planning early elections for February or March at the latest.

According to the daily Israel Hayom, the working scenario of the Prime Minister’s Office is for the current government to be dissolved before the end of the 2018-2019 winter sessions.

The decision to call early elections is based on the ongoing disputes within the ruling coalition, especially over state and religious issues, as well as the strength of the Prime Minister Likud’s party in recent polls.

Coalition partners, the ultra-orthodox party Yahadut Hatorah and the secular nationalist Israel Beitenu , are clashing over legislation that would further delay the military enlistment of students in rabbinical academies, an issue that continues to divide the government.

The government is also divided on the construction and infrastructure work on Shabbat (Jewish day of rest), an issue that has led some ultra-orthodox deputies to threaten to topple the coalition.

Despite the tensions, election polls show Likud as the winner for the fourth consecutive time since 2009.

A poll conducted in July showed Likud winning between 30 and 35 seats, followed very far behind by the Yesh Atid party with between 18 and 22 seats.

 

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Lieberman
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Lieberman (Facebook)