Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections as he fired two key ministers in his coalition for opposing government policy. The sackings were the latest move in a political crisis that will come to a head on today when lawmakers vote on a bill to dissolve the parliament or Knesset. That would set the stage for a vote expected in March or April, in what would be Israel’s second general election in just over two years.
Cracks in Netanyahu’s right leaning coalition emerged over the 2015 budget and a contentious bill aimed at enshrining Israel’s status as the Jewish state in law, a move critics say could harm its Arab minority. The Jewish state bill was strongly opposed by Lapid, a crucial coalition partner who heads the centrist Yesh Atid party and by Livni who chairs HaTnuah, also centrist.
The two parties account for 25 of the coalition’s 68 seats.