Vastavam web: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would make a last-ditch effort on Sunday to avoid the collapse of a coalition government weakened by the resignation of his defence minister. With political pundits predicting an early election in March, Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, was to meet later in the day with his finance minister, who is leading a charge within the coalition towards a snap poll.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation, announced on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s lenient policy towards an upsurge of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, left the government with a majority of only one seat in parliament. That put the fate of Netanyahu’s coalition at the mercy of any of its partners, who have seen the four-term prime minister’s popularity take a rare hit in an opinion poll that showed Israelis were unhappy with him over Gaza.
Addressing his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said it would be “unnecessary and wrong to go to an election during this sensitive period for our security”.