Netanyahu reaches compromise with coalition partners to avoid early elections


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition has reached an agreement to prevent early elections.

The deal was reached on Tuesday evening, ahead of a possible call by the opposition for a vote to dissolve the government and go to snap elections in three months.

Under the deal, according to the Israeli media, the military exemption bill that allows haredi yeshiva students to avoid mandatory conscription will have a preliminary vote in the Knesset later the same evening. The two remaining votes will be held following the parliament’s spring recess, which begins Thursday and allows time for the bill to be amended with Defense Ministry input.

The members of each coalition faction can vote as they wish, allowing the lawmakers from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to oppose the legislation.

Also as part of the deal, the 2019 state budget will be approved Tuesday night, which keeps the Kulanu party, headed by Economy Minister Moshe Kahlon, from bolting the government.

Israeli media reports said Netanyahu decided not to push for early elections because his coalition partners objected, and over concern that while his Likud party is faring well in polls asking about new elections, other parties in the coalition are not doing as well.

“I said yesterday I’d make a supreme effort to prevent elections,” Netanyahu said Tuesday evening in addressing lawmakers in the Knesset plenum. “I promised, and I have kept that promise.”

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