Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks as he gives a joint statement with the justice minister (unseen) at the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 19, 2018. AFP / THOMAS COEX
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday avoided an early election for now after a coalition partner backed away from toppling a government hanging onto power with a razor-thin parliamentary majority.Education Minister Naftali Bennett's U-turn surprised many pundits who had predicted the leader of the far-right Jewish Home party would quit in protest after Netanyahu rejected his demand to be named defense minister and assumed the post himself.Had Bennett pulled his party out of the weakened coalition, as Jewish Home officials had threatened, Netanyahu would have been left with a minority government, making an election likely ahead of a national ballot that is not due until November 2019 .In a speech late Sunday appealing to coalition partners to remain loyal, Netanyahu cited unspecified security challenges ahead and hinted at future action by Israel against its enemies.
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