posted at 20:50
Author Name: Jonah Mandel
Israel PM calls for early elections as ministers fired
Netanyahu said he was formulating a law to dissolve the parliament "As soon as possible" ahead of new elections. Lapid's Yesh Atid party called Netanyahu's decision to fire the two "An act of cowardice and loss of control," with Livni saying the election would be a choice between Netanyahu's "Extremism" and her moderate "Zionism". Sources in Netanyahu's Likud party told AFP that members of the coalition were likely to support the bill. Netanyahu had demanded Lapid accede to five demands for the government to continue - including agreement to freeze his own flagship initiative for zero percent value-added tax on first home purchases, and to support the Jewish state bill. Lapid refused, accusing Netanyahu of "Irresponsibly" pursuing personal interests over those of the public, saying he "Decided to take Israel to unnecessary elections". As chatter has grown about the possibility of early elections, Netanyahu has taken an increasingly hardline stance, throwing his weight behind controversial rightwing initiatives, notably the Jewish state bill. Analysts say Netanyahu's support for the bill is a gesture to Likud hardliners ahead of party primaries in January. A poll on Channel 2 television predicted Likud would receive 22 seats, making Netanyahu the likely candidate to head the next government, while Yesh Atid plummeted to nine seats.

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