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Bennett, Shaked to resign, dragging Israel to early elections



Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked are due to resign on Monday morning, overthrowing the government and leaving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with no choice but to call early elections.

After Yisrael Beytenu's leader, Avigdor Lieberman, announced his resignation from the government,
Bayit Yehudi demanded the Bennett party's defense portfolio and threatened to leave the government if demand was not met.

On Sunday night, Netanyahu held a press conference and announced that he intended to keep the defense portfolio to himself by leaving the ball at Bennett's court.

Justice Minister Shaked, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Education Bennett

Justice Minister Shaked, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Education Bennett

Earlier Sunday, Shaked gave an ultimatum to the prime minister: security or elections. "Right now, the government is no longer a right-wing government, unfortunately," she said.

"The only justification for the continued existence of the government until November 2019 is for Bennett to make a security revolution, to restore Israel to the deterrent that was lost under Lieberman in the last two years and to help fix the serious crisis of confidence We need to go to the elections as soon as possible to establish a new right-wing government, led by Netanyahu, with Bayit Yehudi being the strong party on his right, so we could finally vote right and hit. "

However, sources close to Netanyahu said the prime minister was not willing to capitulate to Bennett's demands. Senior Likud officials meanwhile said Netanyahu did not rule out giving Bennett the defense portfolio in the future, but he wanted the education minister to remain in the government unconditionally.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP)

Netanyahu met with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon late on Sunday in an effort to persuade him to remain in office.

Following that meeting, Netanyahu announced that he would maintain the defense portfolio, prompting Bennett and Shaked to announce a press conference at 10:30 am on Monday.

Bennett spoke to political officials in the coalition late on Sunday, saying he plans to resign following Netanyahu's decision not to appoint him as defense minister. According to these authorities, Bennett intends to vote in favor of the Knesset's dissolution on Wednesday "as a Knesset member rather than as a minister."

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the Tkuma faction inside Bayit Yehudi, said on Monday that he and his colleague MK Bezalel Smotrich supported Bennett's demand for the defense portfolio, adding that if Bennett decided to resign, his faction will have a special mandate. discussion to decide whether to join the move of the leader Bayit Yehudi.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, a close associate of Netanyahu, spoke with members of Kahlon, Kulanu, and Bennett's party, Bayit Yehudi, on Sunday, saying that "dissolving the government would be an irresponsible act both at the level of security or overthrowing a right-wing government. "

Meanwhile, Netanyahu must announce the appointment of ministers in the coming days. With the prime minister deciding to keep the defense portfolio, he will have to give up the Foreign Ministry. He promised this to two ministers: Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz. But in an effort to avoid a confrontation between the two ministers, he is inclined to a third candidate: Yuval Steinitz.

As for the Immigration Absorption Ministry vacated by Yisrael Beytenu member Sofa Landver, Netanyahu is considering giving Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, whom the Prime Minister has promised an upgrade to minister at the first chance he receives.


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