Israel avoided elections following a key coalition partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration said on Monday he wouldn’t draw his party, maintaining the coalition intact despite a catastrophe triggered by a barbarous flare-up with Gaza militants. Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated his tough line settler Jew Home party could give Netanyahu another opportunity to address the security challenges facing Israel, listing off risks from Gaza and Lebanon, among others, he desired dealt with more firmly. I tell the Prime Minister here: we’re withdrawing right now all of our political requirements and will stand up to help you in this great mission of getting Israel to win again, he said.
In case the authorities would really begin leading to the right path, acting as a true right wing government, he added. The ball is at the prime minister’s court. Bennett had previously threatened to resign and his about face eased the most serious coalition catastrophe Israel’s government has faced since it was formed in 2015. He acknowledged the turnaround could damage him, but stated he felt that it was in the nation’s interests to provide Netanyahu one last opportunity. Whilst the move put off elections for today, it keeps the governing coalition on a shaky ground with just a slender 61 seat majority.
The abrupt coalition crisis was triggered by a Israeli raid in Gaza a week ago which resulted in the most violent fighting between Israel and Gaza militants because a 2014 war. Israel’s hard line Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who’d demanded a much stronger response to the massive wave of rocket fire, resigned in protest of a cease fire that ended the fighting. Bennett threatened to bolt the authorities if he wasn’t named defense minister, a post Netanyahu said he was taking himself over. Netanyahu has come under heavy critique for agreeing to the cease fire, particularly from inside his own political base and in the working class, rocket battered against towns in southern Israel which are strongholds of the Likud Party.
However, in a passionate speech Sunday announcing his new job as defense minister, Netanyahu sought to brandish his security credentials at the face of the critique while pinning blame on his coalition partners for attempting to force elections during a very sensitive time for Israel’s security. He continued that the claim Monday, saying it will be irresponsible, to dissolve the government and call early elections amid a tense security situation. Netanyahu could have entered any effort weakened by the latest Gaza flare-up, but heartened by the absence any real contender for his leadership. Most opinion polls, including those after the crisis began, show Netanyahu easily securing re election, which could give him a place in history as the nation’s longest serving leader. According to surveys, the political map wouldn’t change much from the present one, at which one of Israel’s hardest line authorities faces an opposition not able to pose a serious challenge.
But Netanyahu may find a challenge to his rule from other corners, including a potential corruption indictment that could knock him out of contention.The country has been eagerly awaiting the attorney general’s decision on whether to press charges.