(November 16, 2018 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied rumors of an early election amid ongoing speculation that the Jewish Home Party headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett will leave the governing coalition.
According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu said that “rumors that a decision to go to elections had been made were incorrect.”
Netanyahu added that he “trusts the ministers not to topple a right-wing government and not to repeat the historic mistake of ’92, when they toppled a right-wing government, put the left in power and brought the Oslo disaster on the State of Israel.”
The statement by Netanyahu comes amid reports on Friday that Bennett will leave the government, triggering early elections, after failing to secure an appointment as defense minister following Avigdor Lieberman’s decision to leave the post earlier this week over the strategy concerning Gaza.
Netanyahu’s coalition currently stands at a razor-thin majority of 61 seats out of 120 following Lieberman’s decision to pull his Yisrael Beytenu Party out of the government. If Jewish Home were to leave, that would reduce the government to only 53 seats, which would trigger a vote of no confidence and collapse the government.