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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urged coalition partners not to bring down the government

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Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his coalition partners on Sunday not to bring down the government, citing security challenges ahead and hinting at future Israeli military action against its enemies.

Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, has been making last-ditch efforts to avoid the collapse of the government, weakened by the resignation of his defence minister. Political pundits predict a snap vote could come as soon as March, instead of November as scheduled.

“I spoke with all the coalition heads. I told them this is the time to show responsibility – don’t bring down the government, especially not at this security-sensitive time,” he said in televised remarks.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation, announced on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s lenient policy towards an upsurge of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, left the government with a majority of only one seat in parliament.

That put the fate of Netanyahu’s coalition at the mercy of its partners, who have seen the four-term prime minister’s popularity take a rare hit in an opinion poll that showed Israelis were unhappy with him over Gaza.

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