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13 March 2018, 01:24 | Opal Carroll
Netanyahu in emergency talks amid Israel coalition crisis
Earlier on Monday, the government's Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in favor of the bill following overnight talks between Netanyahu and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners for an agreed version of the bill. Rival parties have threatened to bolt the coalition over the issue, raising the possibility of early elections.
Netanyahu met with leaders of the ultra-Orthodox parties Saturday night, after which he said they were working on a draft for the bill that would meet legal and political demands.
Victory could bolster his political standing ahead of the attorney general's decision on indictments.
To his coalition partners, PM Netanyahu appealed for unity: "Because of the huge challenges, I call on my friends - chiefly among them [Defense Minister Avigdor] Lieberman and the chareidim - and I tell them that the hour is late but not too late".
"Should there be an election, we will run and we will win".
President Donald Trump reportedly promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will withdraw the USA from the controversial Iran nuclear deal if his demands are not met.
"They take people whom they claim committed some crime", Netanyahu said.
Since then, police have opened a separate investigation into suspicions that Netanyahu, as communications minister, pushed regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel's national telecom company Bezeq.
"In one word: freedom", Netanyahu answered.
Mr Netanyahu has vehemently denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, saying he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt by an overaggressive police force and a hostile media aimed at toppling him.
In his speech, Netanyahu made no mention of the scandals, but said he had no fears of holding a new election. I do not know of anyone who would volunteer to leave the job.
Netanyahu has reportedly called on members of his coalition to commit to remaining in the government until the end of the current term as part of negotiations. Opinion polls have shown Netanyahu and his Likud Party gaining popularity as the scandals have mounted.
As for the Palestinians, who are furious at Trump for overturning decades of USA policy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Netanyahu said: "We have not walked away from peace negotiations. They should tell their people the truth, even if it is uncomfortable".
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