Kahlon to Netanyahu: Elections Better Earlier Than Later

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

At a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that in the wake of the resignation of Avigdor Liberman from the post of defense minister, it would be best if Israel went to elections now, instead of waiting a year until the date set by law.

“For the good of the economy, it would be best to hold elections as soon as possible,” Hadashot News quoted Kahlon as saying.

Kahlon was just one of the coalition partners Netanyahu had already met with, or planned to meet with on Thursday. Netanyahu is faced with the choice of appointing Naftali Bennett as defense minister, or seeing Jewish Home quit the government as well. With the resignation of Liberman and the official withdrawal of his Yisrael Beytenu party from the government, Netanyahu’s coalition is left with a majority of 61 votes – barely enough to run a government, and making elections a near certainty, coalition chairperson MK David Amsalem told Reshet Bet Thursday.

According to Hadashot News, Netanyahu is unlikely to accede to the demand that Bennett be named defense minister in place of Liberman – but according to the report, a number of coalition members, including Shas and United Torah Judaism, would prefer the appointment of Bennett to the breakup of the government.

The report said that Netanyahu would make the final decision – on whether to appoint Bennett as defense minister and whether to hold elections earlier than the set date of November 2019 – only after he meets with his coalition partners and takes the weekend to think about his next move.