Netanyahu warns Israel could face snap elections

Netanyahu warns Israel could face snap elections
The Israeli prime minister said snap elections could be announced if coalition partners won't agree to see his government complete its term.
2 min read
08 March, 2018
Netanyahu made the remarks at the Economic Club in Washington [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Israel may be on track for early elections due to a coalition crisis over a corruption case involving the premier, AP reported.

Netanyahu said he wants his government to complete its term, which comes to an end in November 2019 when new elections are due.

“If all parties in this coalition … agree that’s what we do, and if not then we will go to elections now,” he said.

With Netanyahu implicated in five separate corruption cases, ultra-Orthodox coalition parties have threatened to vote down a government budget unless military exemptions are instated for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that his Kulanu party will bolt the coalition if the budget doesn’t pass in the next few weeks.

At the Economic Club in Washington, Netanyahu made light of the corruption investigations back in Israel. When asked what the pleasure of his job is, Netanyahu jokingly replied “investigations”.

Later on Wednesday, Netanyahu took to Facebook to lash out at the corruption cases.

"They take people whom they claim committed some crime," Netanyahu said. "They place them under detention, terrify them, tell them 'your life is over, your family's lives are over, we will take everything from you including your freedom. You want to get out of this? There is one way only, smear Netanyahu. It's not important if you tell delusional lies as long as you smear Netanyahu," he said.

It comes as Netanyahu’s former aide, Nir Hefetz, earlier this week agreed to become a state witness in one of the investigations.

Hefetz was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly helping to promote regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for favourable media coverage of the prime minister.

On Friday, police questioned Netanyahu at his home over the incident - casting a shadow over his departure to Washington on Saturday.

In February, Israeli police recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery and fraud in two separate cases. The first relates to accepting lavish gifts from Hollywood and business moguls totaling more than $275,000. The second for promising to promote legislation to boost a newspaper in exchange for favourable coverage.

Netanyahu has denied the charges and wrongdoing in any of the cases.

The decision to press charges is with Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt.