Netanyahu’s Next Hurdle

Netanyahu survived the resignation of his defense minister, but can his government survive long with a slim majority?

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government survived the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the withdrawal of his Yisrael Beiteinu party from the ruling coalition. But now, Netanyahu governs with the slimmest of majorities, and there are some big votes coming up in the Knesset.

This week, the Knesset will vote on Culture Minister Miri Regev's controversial "cultural loyalty law" that would strip state funding from any cultural bodies that work to slander the Jewish state or its institutions. Not all coalition members are enthusiastic about the bill, many calling it a violation of free speech.

With just 61 out of 120 Knesset seats on his side, and such challenging votes ahead, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon doesn't believe Netanyahu's government can survive for very long. "A majority of just 61 seats is a problem," Kahlon said in a radio interview. "It will be very difficult to push through laws. You can't get everyone to agree on every detail of a controversial law."

Earlier, Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, had urged Netanyahu to call early elections, insisting that "while I don't want the government to fall, our job is to act, not only to survive. A government that is fighting only for survival cannot effectively govern."

PHOTO: It's not easy governing in Israel. Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Israel Katz at the last Knesset session. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

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