No, Haredi draft bill did not cause the elections

“Do you expect your legal investigations to be frozen during the election,” Netanyahu was asked.

December 24, 2018 16:47
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud members in December 24th, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud members in December 24th, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked giddy about the election he had just initiated at Monday’s meeting of his Knesset Likud faction.

In a rare move for a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu took questions from reporters, including one in English. Despite his notoriously adversarial relationship with the press, he answered all the questions willingly except for one, which was asked twice.

“Do you expect your legal investigations to be frozen during the election?” Netanyahu was asked.

He snapped back: “I don’t expect anything.”

That answer was an important reminder of the context of these elections. With all due respect to the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment bill, that is not why the Knesset is going to be dispersed this week.

Netanyahu could have waited for the January 15 Supreme Court deadline to pass the bill, and then just continued, business as usual. Technically, he would have had a legal obligation to draft all yeshiva students en masse, and as defense minister, he could have gotten away with not enforcing the law.

But this election is not taking place because of the draft but because of the graft – namely, the three criminal investigations hovering over Netanyahu’s head.

The Jerusalem Post and other media outlets featured headlines over the weekend that, thanks to the expedited timetable leaked by Att.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit’s office, his likely recommendation to indict Netanyahu would take place before the race.

That means that thanks to more leaks, all the voters would know when they vote what Netanyahu did in the Bezeq-Walla, newspaper collusion and expensive gift affairs.

Can it be a coincidence that after two years of overcoming threats to his coalition, Netanyahu initiated an election the day after Mandelblit started working on his case?

There was one other legal case that bothered Netanyahu. Thanks to a petition by Zionist Union MK Lea Fadida, the prime minister had to tell the Supreme Court by Tuesday why he was holding so many portfolios.

And now, thanks to the Knesset being dispersed this week, Netanyahu can if he chooses continue to hold on to the Defense, Foreign Affairs and Health portfolios until the next government is sworn in. The tough choice he would have had to make on a new foreign minister next month can now be forgotten.

Netanyahu can remain prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, health minister, Likud leader and the ordinary citizen before the law fighting multiple criminal probes – and no judge, politician or reporter can stop him.

So it’s no wonder that Netanyahu was in such a good mood on Monday.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Nature, family and dog.
July 17, 2019
Did You Know Hiking in the Land of the Bible is So Important?


Cookie Settings