Netanyahu Declares End to Coalition Crisis: We Have Another Year Before Elections

'There has never been an Israeli prime minister who has successfully withstood such pressure,' Netanyahu said

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Share in Facebook
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the members of the media in Tel Aviv, Israel November 18, 2018.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the members of the media in Tel Aviv, Israel November 18, 2018. Credit: REUTERS/Corinna Kern
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday declared an end to the crisis threatening Israel's governing coalition, saying that was pleased with his successful efforts to prevent the dissolution of the government.

"We have an entire year until the elections," Netanyahu said during the Likud party meeting. His statement came after Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday that they were dropping their political demands and that their party will remain in the governing coalition.

0:00
-- : --
Listen: Why Netanyahu wants truce in Gaza and to delay elections as much as possible

Bennett acknowledged on Monday that he may pay a political price for his decision, saying that "it's better if the prime minister beats us in a political battle than if [Hamas chief Ismail] Haniyeh beats us."

During his speech, the premier mocked Bennett along with the heads of Yisrael Beiteinu for criticizing his Gaza policy and said: "I don’t need inspectors on my right. I don't need anyone looking over me. We need to work together."

>> Netanyahu lays trap for Bennett ■ Netanyahu launches his election campaign, breaking into the center ■ Netanyahu's non-election election speech

Netanyahu's remarks come less than 24 hours after calling on the rest of his coalition partners not to dissolve the government. "We are in a particularly complex security situation," Netanyahu said Sunday night. "In times like these, you do not overthrow a government. It's irresponsible. We have another full year until elections."

Netanyahu, however, said Monday that another prime minister would have "run away from the battle," saying "that hasn’t and won't happen with me."

"There has never been an Israeli prime minister who has successfully withstood such pressure," he said. Israeli citizens expect the government will "bring more great achievements in economics, security, foreign relations and in every field."

Netanyahu called on his government and security members to "show appropriate and responsible behavior" for the sake of Israel's security.

"In order to continue together we must enforce coalition discipline," the prime minister said.

Coalitional discipline is the norms in the Knesset, where members of parties that are part of the ruling coalition are expected to conform to the decisions of the coalition head.

The specifics of what discipline coalition members are bound by is partly outlined in the coalition agreement, often forcing lawmakers to vote against their conscience. Coalition chairs can petition parties whose MKs violate the discipline to sanction them.

Netanyahu on Sunday assumed the defense portfolio following the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman last week. Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party left the governing coalition over the cease-fire Israel had reached with Hamas in Gaza. Bennett, the leader of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party, had then issued an ultimatum for Netanyahu, saying that his party would also quit if he's not appointed defense minister.

Comments