Israeli ministers favor bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox from military service

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On Monday, Netanyahu called for solidarity in the coalition, telling all partners, "chiefly among them Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to remain in the government and continue this partnership to ensure security, prosperity and stability for the state of Israel".

While Pence's announcement echoed President Trump's declaration that he had re-certified the deal in January "for the last time", the president later set a deadline of May 12 for negotiations between the United States and the "European Three" (the UK, France and Germany) in hopes of securing a better deal, though Iranian leaders have adamantly declared that they won't accept any modifications to the original deal.

Lieberman has said that he would only support legislation that is drafted by a committee of military officials.

Israel's prime minister held emergency negotiations with key coalition partners on Sunday in hopes of averting a crisis that has threatened to plunge the country into early elections.

Right-wing and religious parties in the government are divided over the framing of a bill that would protect the exemption ultra-orthodox men have traditionally enjoyed from compulsory military service.

After a more than year-long investigation, Israeli police last month said they believed there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu in a pair of bribery scandals.

Speaking before the Knesset Monday, Netanyahu told parliamentarians "the hour is late but not too late" to preserve the present government, but, he said, he's not afraid of early elections.

The draft bill will be brought before the Knesset for a preliminary vote as part of a compromise deal between the prime minister and the ultra-Orthodox parties for their approval of the 2019 budget.

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When probed as to how the peace process to end the conflict with the Palestinians was progressing, Netanyahu said only that the final deal would take some time, adding: "Israel now gives a high priority to its new relations with the Arab countries".

Following the agreement, haredi lawmakers permitted the 2019 budget bill to be voted on and passed by the Knesset Finance Committee, chaired by UTJ MK Moshe Gafni.

Lieberman has stuck to his position of opposing the conscription bill, but says he will not quit the government over it for now. Opinion polls have shown Netanyahu and his Likud Party gaining popularity as the scandals have mounted.

Lieberman, Yisrael Beteinu's leader, said that all five MKs [Members of the Knesset] from his party would vote against the revised bill.

Police have already recommended Netanyahu be charged in two corruption cases.

Israel's attorney general is expected to make a decision on an indictment by the fall.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday night if he could describe America in one word, it would be "freedom".

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