Coalition Blues

Netanyahu considering non-majority government as coalition talks at an impasse

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As coalition talks appear to have reached an impasse, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering a non-majority government consisting of only 60 MKs, half the total number of Knesset seats.

According to the Times of Israel, the crisis is the result of intransigence on the part of Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Liberman is avowedly secular and has reportedly balked at the religious demands of the Haredi parties, particularly in regard to draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox youths.

Netanyahu's Likud party has charged that Liberman is attempting to use his status as a kingmaker to make unreasonable demands, including several ministries and changes in government policy toward Gaza.

The Times states,

In the coalition talks, Liberman laid out five core demands he said were his party’s red lines, including the defeat of Hamas, blocking any changes to proposed legislation regulating military conscription for ultra-Orthodox men, and ending certain despised practices employed by some in the state rabbinate when dealing with Russian-speaking immigrants, such as DNA tests to examine Jewish family ties.

Technically, Netanyahu can form a non-majority government, but he would likely find it almost impossible to pass legislation or gain majority support for his policies as a result.

If a government cannot be formed, Israel will go to new elections.

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