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Why Netanyahu offended his finance minister

The public rift between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon never really threatened the integrity of the coalition, as none of its members is interested, at least for now, in early elections.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen  - RTX24S18

Ever since the evening of March 15, the parliamentary coalition in Israel has been in a crisis mood over bitter exchanges between the entourage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's people. And what happened at the government meeting March 16 did not reconcile this crisis atmosphere, but made it worse. Adding fuel to the fire, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri delivered a warning to the prime minister and the squabbling ministers, saying, “I’m not going to stay in a government that thrives on malfunctioning and on destroying one another. If you don’t all come to your senses, it’s better to hold an election.”

Kahlon, who instigated the crisis with Netanyahu, knew the crisis would not lead to the dissolution of the government and would end shortly. While Deri also knew this, he wanted to situate himself as a central figure in the events.

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