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Netanyahu Calls for New Election, Lieberman Wants Delay

Netanyahu addressing the Likud Party convention Sunday.

Netanyahu addressing the Likud Party convention Sunday.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party convention called for a four-month election campaign.

Netanyahu said it was time for elections because the stability of the coalition had begun to erode.

“It is preferable to have a short election campaign of four months that will swiftly return stability to the political ranks,” he said in a speech Sunday to Likud members.

A vote on dissolving the current government is scheduled for Monday

The party convention comes ahead of party primaries scheduled for the second week in June.

Meanwhile, coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu called for a delay of the Knesset dissolution to allow the government to pass its bill ordering mandatory enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces for all Israeli citizens. The measure is an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service.

The group “Yisrael Beytenu Anglos” sent out a call to all English-Speakers in Israel to support the proposed IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law, to “equalize the national burden.”

A press release sent to the Jewish Press by the group says the proposed law will “finally rid us of the unfair and unequal Tal Law. This should not be a partisan issue and Yisrael Beytenu stands ready to support any law, including those presented by other parties, that would implement national service, whether military, national or community, for all Israelis regardless of background.”

The group quotes JFK’s memorable inaugural address call on Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman believes that 90 lawmakers would support the bill, and that it would be worthwhile to wait to dissolve the Knesset in order to pass it.

The opposition Kadima Party also called for a delay in dissolving the Knesset in order to vote on an alternative to the Tal Law.

Last week, the Knesset’s legal adviser said in a legal opinion that dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional; it is set to expire in August.

Dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new parliament.

A JTA report was used in this article.

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