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Israel set for early elections as Netanyahu's coalition dissolves Knesset

The leaders of Israel's coalition government decided on Monday to dissolve the Knesset and hold early electi...

Posted: Dec 25, 2018 10:57 AM
Updated: Dec 25, 2018 10:57 AM

The leaders of Israel's coalition government decided on Monday to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections in April, nearly eight months earlier than required by law.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition governs with a razor-thin majority, and has been struggling to pass a new bill that would extend the military draft to ultra-Orthodox Jewish students.

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At a press conference at the Knesset on Monday, Netanyahu confirmed "the heads of the coalition parties decided, in agreement and unanimously, to disperse the Knesset and call for new elections at the beginning of April."

The speaker of the Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, announced the elections would be held on April 9.

Government battling difficulties

Netanyahu's government has been battling difficulties on several fronts. A military confrontation with Palestinian militants last month followed a botched Israeli operation in Gaza that killed one of its soldiers. Seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas military commander, also died.

An eventual ceasefire prompted the resignation of the then defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, who denounced it as a "capitulation to terror."

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

That narrow majority made it difficult to implement a ruling by Israel's High Court of Justice last September concerning a 2015 law that grants most yeshiva students exemption from conscription. The court ordered lawmakers to issue new guidelines for the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Netanyahu would need every member of his coalition to pass a controversial bill that extends the military draft to comply with the ruling. Ultra-Orthodox members of Netanyahu's coalition vehemently reject the bill, leading to a crisis within his government.

The political turbulence comes against the backdrop of criminal investigations that have hit Netanyahu and his inner circle. Israeli police say there is enough evidence to indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate investigations. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing: "I believe nothing will come of it because there is nothing in it," he said earlier this month.

'Sigh of relief'

On Monday opposition member Shelly Yachimovich of the Zionist Union said news of an early election produced a "sigh of relief."

"It is impossible to continue with a government whose Prime Minister is under recommendation of indictments of the state attorneys and the police for fraud," Yachimovich said.

"We can't continue with the collapsing diplomatic position. We have a whole government that is held hostage to the personal needs of the Prime minister and can't operate in this way."

Netanyahu is currently in his fourth term as Prime Minister. A national election was required under Israeli law to be held by November 2019.

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
Adams344955
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
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
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
Unassigned03
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