Netanyahu: I will go to early elections as soon as possible

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will dissolve his coalition government and move to early elections as soon as possible.

His announcement Tuesday night during a televised news conference came hours after Netanyahu fired coalition party heads Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni from their ministerial positions, saying he would “not tolerate ministers who that from within the government attack government policies and the person who leads the government.”

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“I turn to you, the citizens of Israel, this evening because under the current situation, from within the current government, it is impossible to lead a state. My responsibility as prime minister is to do that. To preserve security, to develop the economy, to lower the cost of living – to take care of you, the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said in his statement.

Netanyahu also said that Livni and Lapid attempted to coordinate a “putsch” against him.

He called the current government a “contrarian government,” which was “forced on me because the results of the election – a simple reason – meant that a ruling government under my leadership did not receive enough seats.”

Netanyahu acknowledged that frequent elections “are not a good thing” and that calling for new elections “is not an easy thing to do.”

He added that he has not made a deal with the haredi Orthodox parties in which they would support him for prime minister.