Israel's Netanyahu in emergency talks amid coalition crisis

GALI TIBBON

Earlier in the morning, the government's Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in favor of the bill following overnight talks between Netanyahu and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners for an agreed version of the bill. Yisrael Beiteinu said it will vote against the proposed solution, but Netanyahu would still have the required 61 votes to pass the bill.

Separately and perhaps equally as important, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman opposes the conscription bill and wants to see ultra-Orthodox men serve in the military like their secular counterparts.

Lieberman, Yisrael Beteinu's leader, said that all five MKs [Members of the Knesset] from his party would vote against the revised bill.

"The legislation as presented is what is called a classic 'fake law, '" Liberman said at the beginning of a faction meeting.

Netanyahu spoke at length of the threat posed by Iran, whom he said wanted to build an empire, starting with the current land corridor of sympathetic governments it has built to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

The prime minister's comments come amid further revelations that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been coordinating on a range of regional issues, including Iran and the Palestinian cause.

"We'll vote against the enlistment law", he pledged.

Secularist right-wing parties want the exemption lifted or at least the language changed.

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Following the agreement, haredi lawmakers permitted the 2019 budget bill to be voted on and passed by the Knesset Finance Committee, chaired by UTJ MK Moshe Gafni. Several Kulanu MKs have previously stated they would join Lieberman in opposing the bill. "We'll leave the coalition if the bill is passed in the second and third readings".

"There is no more interesting post than the post of defence minister".

"And you know who agrees with me on that, just about everyone in the Middle East, just about all the Arab governments, it's a big change, so I think this is the number one challenge that we have", he stressed.

Efforts to prevent early elections in Israel intensified on Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing possible indictment for corruption, considered his next moves. I think of America's defense of freedom in the world and alliance with Israel and support for Israel.

Israel's parliament was expected to take up key measures later in the day in what could signal whether Netanyahu's right-wing coalition will survive for now or head towards elections that could be held as early as June.

Should Lieberman and his party quit, Netanyahu's coalition could in theory continue with a one-seat majority in parliament.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called on the PM to resign to spare the country of the "endless saga" of the corruption charges that Netanyahu has been embroiled in.

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