Intel: How Hamas helped Netanyahu keep his coalition together

Intel: How Hamas helped Netanyahu keep his coalition together

But Mr Bennett said his party was ready to give the prime minister another chance.

Netanyahu succeeded in buying himself some time, but the question of how to deal with Gaza will remain explosive, said Hebrew University political scientist Gideon Rahat, a senior associate at the Israel Democracy Institute.

In another twist in a roller-coaster week for Israeli politics, a key ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to quit as had been expected, allowing the right-wing Government to limp along and possibly avoid new elections.

An Israeli website known for its close links to the regime's military intelligence services has admitted that the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas is now possessing "game-changing" missiles that could hit targets in Israel with considerable ease and precision.

"We have an entire year until the election".

Bennett and Shaked claim that the ball is now in the prime minister's court-they will be watching for a shift in strategy.

Bennett threatened a withdraw late Sunday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would be taking over as Israel's defense minister, following the departure of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "The security of the nation is beyond politics, and the security of the nation is also beyond personal considerations".

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The resignations mean that the ruling coalition now has 61 of 120 seats in the parliament (Knesset), prompting some MPs to vote for early polls, which may be held three months after the dissolution of the government.

Earlier Netanyahu met with his finance minister, Moshe Kahlon of the centre-right Kulanu party, who has urged setting an early election date.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is due to decide whether to charge the Prime Minister in several cases involving alleged influence-trading.

Yesterday, a statement from his office said Netanyahu had taken over the Defence Ministry, meeting with the army's current chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, and the incoming head, Aviv Kochavi. "I told them that they must not repeat the mistake of 1999 when factions within the government brought it down and it was replaced with a government that brought us the Intifada".

If Jewish Home also left the government, Mr Netanyahu would lose his majority and early elections would likely be called.

He did not explain why Israel's security concerns would be more complex now than at other times, saying he could not publicly describe in detail the sensitive moves being taken. It is still unclear whether the Government will survive even the next few days, let alone finish its term a year from now.

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