Sunday, September 19, 2021
HomeWorldKey Israel Minister says not quitting, reducing possibility of snap polls

Key Israel Minister says not quitting, reducing possibility of snap polls

A key Israeli minister said on Monday he would not quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government for now despite sharp disagreements, making snap polls less likely.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home said he would give Netanyahu time to correct course on a range of issues.

“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,” Bennett said in a statement to journalists broadcast live on television.

The announcement was a dramatic climbdown from Jewish Home’s earlier threat to leave Netanyahu’s coalition if Bennett was not named defence minister.

Netanyahu has refused to give him the post despite a coalition crisis that has been threatening to bring down his government. In an impassioned address to the nation on Sunday night, Netanyahu said he would retain the defence portfolio for now and seek to convince coalition partners to remain.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation last week over a controversial ceasefire that ended the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war threw the government into crisis.

After Lieberman’s withdrawal along with his Yisrael Beitenu party, Netanyahu’s government was left clinging to a one-seat majority in the 120-seat Parliament.

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