Chaos in the Knesset: Netanyahu's Coalition on the Verge of Shattering

Chaos in the Knesset: Netanyahu's Coalition on the Verge of Shattering

Opposition politicians and at least one coalition partner have suggested Netanyahu is not committed to resolving the issue and might actually prefer to let the government unravel.

However, the secularist right-wing partners object to such a bill, saying the ultra-Orthodox should "share the burden" of military service.

"Should there be an election, we will run and we will win".

"If I have a message for you today, it is a very simple one: We must stop Iran, we will stop Iran", he said.

Netanyahu met with leaders of the ultra-Orthodox parties Saturday night, after which he said they were working on a draft for the bill that would meet legal and political demands. "The hour is late, but it is not too late". That has led to a series of urgent meetings between Netanyahu and his political partners.

But Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, a vociferous opponent of the bill - which is seen as giving the ultra-Orthodox the ability to dodge the country's mandatory military draft - was insistent on Monday that his party will oppose it, fueling speculation that a snap vote as early as June was all but assured.

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Right-wing and religious parties in the government are now separated over the framing of a bill that would guarantee the exemption ultra-Orthodox seminary male students have traditionally enjoyed from compulsory military service.

The political tremor comes as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling a slew of corruption allegations over accepting gifts from billionaire friends and claims that he unlawfully engineered favourable media coverage for himself and his family.

Even if Netanyahu is forced to step down, a new Likud leader would be able to take over and keep a new government coalition, whatever its configuration, in place. The final word on whether to indict him rests with the attorney-general, a decision that could be months away.

"The president has also made clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions", the prime minister stated.

That investigation is continuing, but two former Netanyahu confidants have already agreed to testify against him in exchange for leniency. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

During remarks at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said his discussions with United States President Donald Trump and other officials in Washington last week focused mainly on Iran.