Netanyahu battles to save weakened ruling coalition

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"On Sunday, the date of the elections will be coordinated between the heads of the coalition parties".

Bennett, a senior official in the right-leaning Jewish Home party, threatened to leave Netanyahu's coalition if he is not appointed defense minister.

The truce brokered by Egypt, with support from the United Nations, to contain the violence prompted the resignation of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who demanded a large-scale operation in Gaza against the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the strip.

The Education Minister had called for Israel to "start winning again", expressing frustration at Netayahu's compliance with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with the Gaza Strip.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to delay the dissolution of the current government by at least another month and a half, in order to allow him to confirm the appointment of the next IDF chief of staff and Israel police chief, an associate of the premier told the Haaretz newspaper on Friday evening.

Leader of the Meretz party MK Tamar Zandberg attends during a joint Knesset and Constitution Committee meeting at the Knesset, July 10, 2018. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the head of the center-right Kulanu Party, has said it is an economic must to have elections as early as possible.

His resignation left the coalition with 61 members in the 120-seat parliament, making it likely to collapse if another party decides to quit.

Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were demonstrating on Friday near the fence with Israel as part of the Great March of Return, shortly after a two-day spate of deadly violence.

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A statement released a short time later said Netanyahu had begun those conversations Friday afternoon.

Israel used air support to withdraw its soldiers and seven Palestinians, including a Hamas commander, as well as one Israeli soldier were killed in the exchange.

The criminal investigations have barely damaged the Prime Minister's standing in the polls or his popularity.

But the crisis may pose a new challenge for the Israeli leader, since it appears he is being led to call early elections, instead of calling them on his own.

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Many believe Netanyahu will not do well in the coming election, especially since a number of Israelis believe he capitulated to terrorists by agreeing to a ceasefire with Hamas.

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