Looming elections after negotiations fail between Netanyahu and Bennett

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

A spokesperson for his Likud party said on Friday that Netanyahu will handle the defence portfolio himself after he and his key coalition partner Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party couldn't reach an agreement, Reuters reported.

The party stopped short of pulling out of the government, which would have triggered an immediate collapse, but there seemed to be little prospect of holding the fractious coalition together.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that it's important to make every effort in order to preserve the right-wing government and not to repeat the historical mistake of 1992 when a right-wing government was toppled, raised the left to power and brought the Oslo disaster upon Israel".

Many believe Netanyahu will not do well in the coming election, especially since a number of Israelis believe he capitulated to terrorists by agreeing to a ceasefire with Hamas.

Lieberman, which leads the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, resigned less than a day after the ceasefire, describing the truce as "a capitulation to terror" and withdrawing his party from Israel's ruling coalition in the 120-member parliament.

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On Thursday, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri also called for early elections.

After two days of harsh fighting this week, a ceasefire was agreed upon between Hamas and the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Without Bennett's Jewish Home, Netanyahu's coalition would lose its parliamentary majority.

In a statement released after the meeting, Kahlon said, "The stability required at this time is not achievable in the present situation, and therefore the responsible act is the establishment of a new, strong and stable government".

However, a survey conducted by Hadashot TV on Wednesday night revealed that Netanyahu's Likud party would win by a landslide if elections were to be held now. If this is indeed the case, it is expected elections will be held between March and May 2019.

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