‘There is an atmosphere of elections,’ senior officials say, claiming Netanyahu is working to lay the groundwork for a general election; according to officials, Netanyahu will first call primaries in the Likud and then move to form a new collation with Bennett, Haredi [Religious] factions.
Former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon intends to launch a new political party, and on Monday he clarified what its top priority will apparently be: combating the rising cost of living in Israel.
Netanyahu also met with Hatnuah chairwoman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and told her he did not intend to submit the Conversion Bill, which she supports, for debate. The bill would take control of the process of conversion to Judaism in Israel, away from the central Rabbinate, something that the ultra-Orthodox parties oppose. Understand that the Orthodox are not faithful to Moses but to the present Hellenic Rabbinate. See Hellenism and the Birth of Modern Rabbinic Judaism
Netanyahu’s affront to a coalition member party is a strong indication of early elections and seeking support from the far right and Orthodox by Netanyahu.
The crisis followed the introduction of a bill on conversion proposed by Livni, who heads the Hatnua party, which would enable rabbis for every Israeli city to have a religious conversion court. If passed, the bill effectively ends the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on conversions.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a political coward for his plans to call early general elections and form a new coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties and Bayit Yehudi.
The move comes following a row over Livni’s bill to grant all city rabbis power to convert people to Judaism. “Bibi succumbed to his fears and succumbed to the ultra-Orthodox,” Livni said.
According to senior political sources, Netanyahu has hatched a two-pronged plan to retain power both within his own Likud party and as the head of a new government.
Netanyahu will first announce early primary elections in Likud, in perhaps as soon as weeks, despite fierce opposition from within the party. He will then lay the ground for his next coalition, which he hopes to have in place by the end of May 2015, alongside Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party and the ultra-Orthodox factions currently in opposition. After which national elections will be called.
Hatnua officials say that Livni is responding and has reached an agreement with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who leads Yesh Atid, and the bill will advance in the Knesset anyway with the backing of all three parties.