Netanyahu Steps Back from the Brink

Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the media at the Knesset, on May 27, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

With all signs pointing to new elections after a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman failed to produce a solution to the coalition crisis, the prime minister said at a briefing on Monday evening that all was not yet lost.

Netanyahu said that he is “doing everything possible to form a right-wing government and prevent unnecessary elections that will cost billions of shekels.”

He blamed Liberman for the situation that has the country on tenterhooks, and asserted that “there’s no reason [for new elections] and paralyze the country for another year and a half. There are excellent solutions, and if there’s the will, it can be solved within two minutes.”

He urged Liberman to reconsider accepting proposed compromises and joining the coalition.

Shortly before his remarks, a meeting between the two ended after just a few minutes with no agreement, senior Likud sources said. It had been rumored that Netanyahu would admit he could not reach an agreement and elections would have to follow, but instead pulled back from the brink, and chose merely to say that he was still trying to break the stalemate.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Netanyahu on Monday afternoon:

“Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. A lot more to do!” he wrote.

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