Israeli ministers favor bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox from military service

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Netanyahu's coalition has been feuding over whether to continue granting exemptions from military service to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.

Landver will on Tuesday present her appeal against a decision to allow the Knesset to vote on the controversial bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

"If there are elections, I will compete in them and win".

On Wednesday, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, a loyal Netanyahu ally, said "an accurate description would be to say that the prime minister was indifferent to the outcome".

The coalition had been at loggerheads since ultra-Orthodox parties said they would not support next year's budget unless a law was passed to exempt religious students from military service.

Ultra-Orthodox parties that help underpin Netanyahu's government had demanded a vote on the conscription legislation before passing the budget.

At the same time, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wants the budget approved before parliament's current session ends this week and has threatened to quit if it does not happen.

After a truly intricate dance between a nor'easter of raindrops, the Netanyahu government coalition has managed to avoid a coalition collapse and the inevitable early elections that would result.

Meanwhile, the vote on the disputed IDF draft bill was postponed to 6 PM on Tuesday instead of 3 PM as scheduled, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Tuesday.

"We shall not volunteer to leave the government", Lieberman said.

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Dismissing polls released by Channel Ten News on Monday night that revealed slim support for his Yisrael Beytenu party, Liberman said "I see the polls and laugh, and we'll see who has the last laugh".

Netanyahu has however signalled that he does not want to do so, calling it unsustainable.

Though he has become a responsible cabinet member ("the most adult among them", we hear sometimes) and apparently not a bad minister of defense, the Russian base of his party is shrinking and one of the former members of his parliamentary faction has chose to form her own party thus competing with the man who once was her boss.

Netanyahu, 68, could soon face charges in at least two separate corruption affairs, while investigations are continuing into two others.

Police recommended his indictment for bribery in the first two cases in February and the attorney general is considering how to proceed, a process expected to take months.

Netanyahu 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.

The other alleges he sought a secret deal with the publisher of a top-selling newspaper for favorable coverage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, March 11, 2018.

But since Netanyahu is not legally required to resign if indicted, his fate may be far from sealed even if he is charged.

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