'Holding elections now would be bad for Israel'

Jewish Home minister hopes coalition crisis can be resolved. 'Netanyahu didn't initiate the crisis, no party wants elections.'

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Mordechai Sones,

Uri Ariel
Uri Ariel
Flash 90

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) hopes the ongoing Draft Law crisis will soon be resolved and the government will serve out its full term, set to end November 2019, the minister told Arutz Sheva.

"No one wants early elections; going to elections now would harm civilians and the State. We can and must reach an understanding with the haredim, and I believe that when he returns to Israel, the Prime Minister will deal with this."

Senior coalition officials are continuing to formulate a plan to allow the 2019 budget transfer before the Passover holiday, but in a way the haredi factions will accept.

Netanyahu's haredi coalition partners have expressed concern that a proposed amendment to the Draft Law, which would circumvent a Supreme Court ruling against draft deferments for yeshiva students, would fail to pass in the Knesset without government support, and have demanded the Prime Minister force the Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu factions to vote in favor of the bill.

United Torah Judaism MKs have threatened to block the 2019 budget if the coalition does not adopt UTJ's proposed amendment to the Draft Law.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, Minister Ariel said Prime Minister Netanyahu was not seeking a showdown with haredi lawmakers.

"He didn't initiate this crisis and as a shrewd politician, he could find other reasons for a coalition crisis, but he didn't initiate it. I think one can take him at his word that he prefers elections on time in November 2019, and he hopes the faction leaders will contribute to this happening."

Turning to the myriad of police investigations against Netanyahu and the Prime Minister's associates, Ariel believes the probes will not affect Netanyahu's ability to perform his duties.

"It may make things difficult for us, but on the other hand, we see that the Prime Minister is at his best, we saw him in AIPAC and with Trump's people, and he has many achievements in the policy field as well," he said."There is no indictment yet, and he has a presumption of innocence. An indictment can carry twenty years in prison, and an indictment could be on the level of community service work, so not all indictments are the same. We'll wait to see in the hope there'll be nothing."