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Netanyahu fights against time to build government as deadline looms

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Netanyahu is up against the clock to create a governing coalition as time runs out at midnight on Wednesday.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is struggling to form a coalition in a scenario he probably didn’t predict when he led a decisive right-wing victory in Israel’s elections last month.

But there appears to be a real chance he will not succeed in cobbling together a government before the deadline of midnight Wednesday.

The Likud seems to be preparing for this worst-case scenario. Following a Likud meeting on Sunday afternoon, Likud MK Miki Zohar sounded a pessimistic note, saying “it appears that the Knesset will dissolve on Wednesday night,” meaning a government will not be formed.

Today, Zohar will present a motion to dissolve the Knesset, the Ynet news site reports.

Netanyahu however is still making a last-ditch effort to build a coalition. On Saturday, he huddled with his party’s main negotiators at his home in Caesarea to see if there was a path forward. The meeting followed numerous failed attempts last week to bridge the gap on the main issue.

The sticking point is the military conscription bill, which is geared to drafting male seminary students from the haredi sector, sometimes referred to as the ultra-Orthodox, into the Israeli Army. The issue has caused a great deal of friction in Israeli society over the years, as the general population views haredim as not doing their fair share in a country where serving in the military is mandatory.

Two of Netanyahu’s potential coalition partners stand at opposite ends of the debate. Both have dug in their heels, grinding negotiations to a halt.

The first, United Torah Judaism, led by Yaakov Litzman, is a haredi party and wants to see changes made to the bill that would water it down. It is joined by the Shas party, another haredi party. Together, they control 16 seats in the Knesset.

On the other side stands the Israel Beiteinu party led by Avigdor Liberman. He refuses to join the coalition if any modifications are made to the proposed law. His party holds five seats.

Netanyahu needs all three parties if he wishes to govern. With those three, plus other smaller parties, he would have a comfortable 65-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

According to reports, the haredi parties had shown a willingness to compromise but Liberman remained unyielding, which would explain why the Likud publicly berated the Israel Beiteinu leader in an attempt to pressure him to return to the negotiating table. Liberman has so far proven resistant to pressure.

On Saturday, Liberman went on the attack, taking a crack at Netanyahu in a Facebook post: “The right isn’t a personality cult. The right comprises values. Army service was always an uppermost value in the worldview of the nationalist camp.”

If Israel goes to back-to-back elections, it will be the first time in the country’s history.

But there’s a possibility that the opposition will be handed a chance to form a government, or even another member of the Likud party.

It is clear that the opposition, led by Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, feels it deserves a chance. Ynet reports that a senior Blue and White official said that it wouldn’t support MK Zohar’s proposal to dissolve the Knesset “if we don’t first get the possibility to form a government first.”

“The law says that if Netanyahu can’t form a government, we or another Knesset member from the Likud should have the opportunity,” a second senior Blue and White member said, the paper reports.





利库德集团似乎正在为这种最糟糕的情况做准备。在星期天下午举行的利库德集团会议之后,Likud MK Miki Zohar发出了悲观的声音,称“看来议会将于周三晚上解散”,这意味着政府不会成立。





第一个由Yaakov Litzman领导的United Torah犹太教是一个haredi派对,他希望看到对法案进行修改,这将使其失败。 Shas派对加入了另一个haredi派对。他们共同控制了以色列议会的16个席位。

另一边是Avigdor Liberman领导的以色列Beiteinu派对。如果对拟议的法律进行任何修改,他拒绝加入联盟。他的政党拥有五个席位。






很明显,由蓝白党领袖班尼甘茨领导的反对派认为应该有机会。 Ynet报道称,一名蓝白军官表示,如果我们不首先有可能首先组建政府,那么它不会支持MK Zohar解散议会的建议。



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