November 20, 2018 by Yona Schnitzer – TPS
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Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon said at a meeting of the Knesset faction on Monday that he hoped to take place in early March despite the decision of the Jewish House to remain in the government.
"It's hard to believe this business will continue," Kahlon said, "we are preparing for the March election."
Kahlon's comments came just hours after Chairman of Naftali's Jewish House Bennett said he "withdrew all political demands" and would defend his party in the government. Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked had previously given Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu an ultimatum that if he was not given a defense portfolio vacated last week by Avigdor Liberman he would withdraw from the coalition which forced early elections. However, Netanyahu said late Sunday that he would take the position of defense minister himself, adding that Israel was in a "complex" security situation and that any withdrawing party would act irresponsibly and possibly hand over power to Kiri.
Overcoming his Likud faction, after Bennett's morning press conference, Netanyahu repeated his stance that the government must be allowed to complete his term of office.
"I told the coalition party leaders that we could not overthrow the coalition, they had to show responsibility," Netanyahu said, "I am glad the effort paid off. We have one full year until the election."
Netanyahu urged his party members to carry out discipline due to the fact that the current coalition consisted of only 61 MK – a slim majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
"We must show the discipline of the coalition. There are no rebels, no personal transactions. The Security Cabinet cannot leak or turn into political barter ram. We cannot mix politics and security, "Netanyahu said.
Taking a sweep at Bennett amid criticism raised against his security policy directed at him by Home Jewish leaders, Netanyahu said: "I don't need a supervisor from the right. I protect us, our country, our children. I have led the country for 11 years. No PM faced the pressure I did not to build in Judea and Samaria and stand for it. "
Netanyahu also responded to Bennett for his claim that the IDF soldiers "were more afraid of the General Military Advocates than they were from [Hamas military leader] Yahya Sinwar. "
"The IDF army is not afraid of anything," Netanyahu said.