SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has removed Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from their positions.
“I will not tolerate any opposition,” Netanyahu said in a statement after sacking the two senior cabinet ministers on Tuesday.
The two ministers were among the critics of Netanyahu’s policies.
“In past weeks, including the past day, ministers Lapid and Livni have harshly attacked” my policies, the Israeli prime minster said, while calling for an early election amid the ongoing political infighting between coalition partners in his cabinet.
“The prime minister plans to call for parliament’s dissolution as soon as possible and to go to the people and get a clear mandate to lead Israel,” the statement added.
The Israeli finance minister described as “cowardice” Netanyahu’s move after his dismissal.
“The firing of ministers is an act of cowardice and loss of control,” Lapid said, adding, “We are sad to see that the prime minister has chosen to act without consideration for the national interest and to drag Israel to unnecessary elections.”
On Monday, Netanyahu warned that he would initiate elections for early next year, two years ahead of schedule, unless the cabinet could work together “harmoniously.”
Netanyahu’s fractious cabinet has been racked by differences over several major issues including proposed cuts to the 2015 budget and a new bill that seeks to declare Israel as a Jewish state.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu complained of the incessant infighting in his cabinet.
This came as a Sunday poll showed Netanyahu’s approval rating has halved from 77 percent in August to 38 now.
The current coalition in Israel was formed following the general elections in 2013. The next vote was due in 2017 but Israeli media say it could be brought forward to as early as next March.