Less than two months before the last elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Deputy Miki Zohar of his own Likud party to introduce a bill to dissolve the Knesset. This measure, if approved would throw Israel into new elections.
By Israeli law, the deadline is March 29th for Netanyahu to put together a coalition. If that deadline passes than three option are available; have a ruling coalition without a majority, President Reuven Rivlin appoints someone else to form a government, or the country goes to new elections.
Avigdor Lieberman, the president of the political party Israel Beiteinu is still holding back the 5 seats that his party won 5 in this years election. Without them, Netanyahu will not have a majority to properly run a Knesset.
The point of contest resolves around Lieberman’s refusal position to not move an inch off the proposed stricter draft law that would increase the number of Orthodox males to serve in the army. Lieberman has always been very adamant that the ultra-orthodox communities join or be fined if they refuse to send their eligible youth to the army.
However, Netanyahu also needs the seats of the religious parties(United Torah Judaism, Shas and the Union of Right-Wing Parties) to form a ruling coalition; who are all in opposition of a stricter draft law.
Despite outside pressure by the rest of the Likud parties to join, Lieberman is still standing his ground by saying ”during the elections, we promised to back Netanyahu as prime minister, and alongside this, we presented a very clear platform: security, immigration, and absorption, religion and state. The draft of yeshiva students is one of the central issues for Yisrael Beytenu.”
“After the elections, as we promised, we recommended to the president Binyamin Netanyahu as the candidate to form the government. That being said, we did not obligate ourselves to give in to the Likud or to surrender our basic principles. At every appearance, I made before the elections, during the elections, and after the elections, I made it very clear that we won’t make any concessions on the issue of the draft, which was already brought up for the first vote as a compromise,” Liberman said.
The move aims to put pressure on the Lieberman and the religious parties to come to some sort of compromise to avoid going to new elections.
Netanyahu announced that he will meet with the leaders of the parties of his possible coalition to try and save the new government and avoid new elections that would polarize the nation.
“I am now making my last-ditch effort to form a right-wing government and to prevent unnecessary elections. I gave the partners a proposal for a solution. It is based on the principles that the army has established and on the data that the army has established, and there is no reason to reject it,” Netanyahu said.