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Israel's Netanyahu staves off cabinet rebellion, averts early elections

Two key Israeli ministers announced Monday that they would remain in the country's coalition government and ...

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 1:00 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 1:00 PM

Two key Israeli ministers announced Monday that they would remain in the country's coalition government and support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, temporarily delaying the prospect of early elections.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, both from the right-wing Jewish Home party, told a news conference they would support Netanyahu, but demanded the coalition carries out a more right-wing policy.

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"If finally the government will bring us in a new path, to work as a real right wing government, it's worth trying," said Bennett.

Bennett called for a harsher policy against Hamas in Gaza, the destruction of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, and a tougher policy against terrorists and their families, among other policies.

"When Israel wants to win, we will return to winning," Bennett said.

Withdrawing an earlier threat to quit the government, Bennett said he was taking all of his political demands off the table, saying of Netanyahu, "We will stand behind you and help you in this huge task of Israel returning to winning."

Bennett had demanded the defense ministry following the resignation of Avigdor Liberman last week. Bennett had threatened to withdraw the coalition, forcing its collapse, if he were not given the position. On Sunday night, Netanyahu announced he would hold the defense ministry for himself, forcing Bennett to withdraw or give up on his demand.

Acknowledging political defeat, Bennett said, "It's better that Netanyahu beats me in a political fight than that [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh beats the State of Israel."

On Monday morning, Netanyahu called it "irresponsible" to topple the government at this "sensitive security time." Attending the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the first time as Defense Minister, Netanyahu said, "Whether our partners decide to topple the government or not, we will continue to take action to ensure the security of our state and of our people. We will do so sensibly, responsibly and with determination."

Last week, Netanyahu's right-wing coalition faced its most serious challenge since coming to power nearly four years ago after a key minister resigned and others called for a new government.

The crisis was sparked Wednesday by the resignation of Liberman, who opposed a ceasefire with Gaza militants that was struck on November 13, bringing an end to the most severe round of fighting between the two sides since the 2014 war.

The resignation of Liberman, the hardline leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, left the government with 61 seats -- a majority of only one seat -- in the 120-seat Knesset.

Controversial ceasefire struck

The crisis began after a barrage of some 400 rockets was launched from Gaza toward Israel on November 12, hours after a botched Israeli operation in Gaza left a Hamas commander and an Israeli soldier dead. The Israeli military struck more than 100 targets inside Gaza.

A renewed ceasefire was brokered by the Egyptians and the United Nations to end the hostilities. Liberman denounced the ceasefire as a "capitulation to terror."

However, Netanyahu once again defended the ceasefire on Sunday, saying it was done in consultation with Israel's security establishment, suggesting there might be future military action.

"I know what to do, when to do it, and we will do it," said Netanyahu. "I hope that all of the partners will show responsibility and will not topple the government."

Netanyahu has faced coalition crises in the past but none as serious as the one currently unfolding. He has repeatedly promised to see out the government's term to November 2019, but that pledge seems increasingly in doubt.

If the coalition parties agree by the end of the month to call early elections, they are required by law to hold the vote within three to five months, putting the earliest possible election window in late February or early March.

The political turbulence comes as Netanyahu faces criminal investigations that have hit him and his inner circle. Israeli police say they have enough evidence to indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in two separate investigations.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
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Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
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Blackford136032
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Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
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Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107047

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284921459
Cuyahoga1155972204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524821040
Summit48339999
Lucas43303817
Butler38901603
Stark33286929
Lorain25641502
Warren24557303
Mahoning22330601
Lake21135385
Clermont20097252
Delaware18817135
Licking16645222
Fairfield16561204
Trumbull16522479
Medina15593270
Greene15252246
Clark14219306
Wood13280197
Portage13226214
Allen11905239
Richland11598211
Miami10835223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9020230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8649122
Marion8635138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7137179
Hancock6996131
Ross6933161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6528104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5436125
Darke5415129
Seneca5343126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387277
Preble3847103
Clinton378466
Ottawa372681
Highland359265
Williams347578
Champaign343658
Guernsey324153
Jackson317354
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2698101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196748
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
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