Senior Likud source: Still unclear if Netanyahu wants to avoid elections


Netanyahu, who attended MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) as an impressionable college student, said one thing that makes the United States truly unique in all the world is that no matter who you are, or where you're from, you can succeed if you're talented and work hard.

Recent opinion polls show the long-time leader still enjoys strong public support and his Likud party could win the most seats in new elections, despite the corruption allegations. A parliamentary committee approved a bill on Monday to extend military draft exemptions to ultra-Orthodox men.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was educated in the United States and he visits frequently because he loves America and believes it has been a force for good in the world. The final word on whether to indict him rests with the attorney-general, a decision that could be months away.

He added that "it could be that there's someone who for personal reasons wants to generate a crisis and lead the state to elections".

A letter Sunday by the religious lawmakers' Council of Torah Sages, a policy-making body, rejected a compromise offer, saying there was no change in the religious party's stance and prompting the meetings between the prime minister and his partners.

The bill is bitterly opposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"Once the heads of the ultra-Orthodox parties announced they'd agree to a solution, the draft crisis was solved", he wrote on Twitter.

However, the secularist right-wing partners object to such a bill, saying the ultra-Orthodox should "share the burden" of military service.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he would resign if the budget did not pass in the Knesset's winter session, which ends on Sunday.

"In order for that to happen, all the parties need to reach agreements and decide to continue together", he said, implying that he was not the cause of the dispute.

The 68-year-old premier could soon face charges in at least two separate corruption affairs.

While legal experts say the law may have some flaws, coalition members have said they will iron out the issue, thus ensuring that all parties in question are satisfied.