Likud Prepares Bill to Dissolve Knesset

NEW YORK -
Knesset building in Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Times of Israel reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed Likud MK Miki Zohar to introduce a bill to dissolve the Knesset, putting pressure on potential coalition parties to reach an agreement or face another election. Zohar told Channel 12 news that he would file the bill later in the day.

According to Arutz Sheva, members of the Likud faction were sent a message to arrive at the Knesset Monday at 4 PM to vote to dismiss the current Knesset, which seems to signal the end of negotiations to form a new coalition.

“Hello everyone, please be tomorrow at 16:00 in the plenum to vote on the Knesset Dispersion Law. Attendance is mandatory. There are no excuses and no absences. Please confirm!” the message said.

Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party is preparing for the possibility that it will fail to reach a compromise between Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beytenu and the chareidi parties concerning the draft law, which the chareidi parties accepted, while Liberman has insisted he won’t budge from a Defense Ministry-drafted version of the bill regulating chareidi yeshiva students drafted into the military.

“It seems that is what Liberman wants, and he somehow thinks he will get more seats,” a Likud source said. “It is not clear why he is being so stubborn. We explained to him that the ultra-Orthodox can’t be appeased in this case, but he is banging his head against a wall.”

Liberman asserted that the chareidi parties did not oppose the version of the draft bill when it passed a first reading in the previous parliament, a position denied by the chareidi parties. “Mr. Liberman is not telling the truth about the draft bill and is using it as an excuse to bring down the right-wing government,” Shas said in a statement. “Shas and UJT opposed the bill on its first reading and demanded that changes and alterations be made. The statements that we went back on it are baseless lies.”

According to Ynet, the bill will call for dissolving the Knesset on Wednesday evening, as the deadline for forming a coalition expires. “The bill to dissolve the Knesset is ready. Regrettably, we are being dragged into elections because of petty squabbling by some of the coalition partners,” Zohar said in a tweet.