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Israel’s Netanyahu survives early poll threat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the Knesset, Israel"s Parliament, in Jerusalem on 19 November 2018.

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Reuters

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Mr Netanyahu had strongly opposed calling early elections

Israel’s government appears to have survived a possible collapse after a key partner withdrew a threat to leave the coalition and force snap elections.

Naftali Bennett, of the Jewish Home party, had signalled he would quit, but announced on Monday he would stay on.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu has held talks with ministers in recent days to try to keep his coalition together.

The crisis began when the defence minister resigned in opposition to an Israeli ceasefire with Gaza militants.

Mr Bennett had said he would pull his party out unless he was appointed the new minister of defence.

Mr Netanyahu has assumed the role himself for the time being.

The withdrawal of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party left Mr Netanyahu’s government clinging to a one-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament).

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the third largest party in the coalition, said on Monday that he and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would stay on so long as the prime minister addresses Israel’s “deep security crisis”.

“If the prime minister is serious in his intentions, and I want to believe his words from last night, I am saying here to the prime minister we are removing at this moment all of our political demands and will help you in the huge mission of making Israel win again,” he told reporters on Monday.

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday appealed against calling early elections, saying such a decision would be “irresponsible” because of current security concerns.

Israel’s Netanyahu survives early poll threat

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