The Times of Israel is liveblogging Sunday’s events as they happen.
After resigning as defense chief, Liberman launches election campaign
After resigning as defense minister, Avigdor Liberman launches the national election campaign for his Yisrael Beytenu party.
“The party is preparing to increase its power in elections for the Knesset, similar to the substantial increasing of its power in municipal elections” last month, the party says in a statement.
The announcement is made at an event where Liberman redesignates the party’s municipal election office as its Knesset election headquarters.
Liberman stepped down as defense minister in protest of a ceasefire to end fighting in the Gaza Strip and called for early elections to be held.
Though the governing coalition maintains a one-seat majority without Yisrael Beytenu, Liberman’s decision to return the party to the opposition benches has raised the likelihood an early vote will be called.
Jewish Home lashes out at Netanyahu for firing deputy defense minister
The Jewish Home party is incensed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision not to reappoint Eli Ben-Dahan as deputy defense minister.
Ben-Dahan, a member of the party, lost his job last week following Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as defense minister. Under Israeli law, when a minister resigns his deputy must also do so, although the prime minister has the option to reappoint him.
“The cruelty of the prime minister’s people toward the Jewish Home party, this time with the dismissal of Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, is an unfair and unjust act toward an honest and moral public servant,” the party says in a statement.
“The prime minister would not behave this way toward any other party,” it adds. “We call on the prime minister to reverse this decision.”
Netanyahu doesn’t reappoint deputy defense minister
Prime Minister Netanyahu has declined to reappoint Eli Ben-Dahan as deputy defense minister.
Ben-Dahan was required to leave his post following last week’s resignation of Avigdor Liberman as defense minister. Under Israeli law, if a minister steps down his deputy must also resign, though the prime minister can allow the deputy minister to continue in his role.
Liberman’s decision to resign left the ruling coalition with a one-seat majority and raised the chances of early elections being called.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is the head of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party to which Ben-Dahan belongs, has demanded the defense portfolio as a condition for remaining in the coalition.