Netanyahu accused of stoking 'fake' crisis

PM Netanyahu surrounded by coalition party leaders Moshe Kahlon Avigdor Liberman Aryeh Deri and Naftali Bennett

"I am not saying there couldn't be one in the future, but right now there is none", Netanyahu said, two officials at the meeting told Axios.

The dispute comes as Netanyahu faces a possible indictment on bribery charges in the coming months.

However, polls suggest he could remain prime minister and his Likud party could win most of the seats in fresh elections despite police investigations into his affairs. The final word on whether to indict him rests with the attorney-general, a decision that could be months away.

Members of Benjamin Netanyahu's government have been quarreling over whether to extend military draft exemptions afforded to ultra-Orthodox men.

Speaking to Army Radio Sunday morning, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said he thought the agreement with the ultra-Orthodox parties was enough to prevent immediate elections.

Netanyahu spoke at length of the threat posed by Iran, whom he said wanted to build an empire, starting with the current land corridor of sympathetic governments it has built to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

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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".

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.

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

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is meanwhile insisting that the budget be approved before the end of this week. The bill does not have to pass three readings before August, while the 2019 state budget, which is due to be voted on in the next few days, does not have to pass second and third readings before December 2018.

On Sunday, Netanyahu said that a coalition without the Yisrael Beytenu party, which would mean a razor-thin majority of 61 lawmakers out of 120, was "not an option".

A spokesman for Litzman said on Sunday that there were now discussions among all relevant parties over the wording of the conscription bill.

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