Israeli government calls early elections for April after 'unanimously' agreeing to disband

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv

The decision to head to the polls also comes as Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is set to begin reviewing materials to decide on possible charges against Netanyahu this week, embarking on the most high-stakes stage yet of a several-year legal entanglement that has threatened to upend the country's political system.

Following a meeting, coalition heads with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government decided the elections will be held on April 9 "in the name of budgetary and national responsibility", according to a spokesman.

Another victory for Netanyahu would assure his place in history as Israel's longest-serving leader and allow him to solidify his close alliance with President Donald Trump.

Israel's government coalition chose to go to elections in early April.

Elections were not due until November, but there had always been speculation the coalition would not last that long, especially in recent weeks.

Netanyahu told his Likud faction on Monday that he was confident of winning re-election, and that the current coalition would form "the core" of the next government too.

Mr Netanyahu's coalition has been rocked by internal divisions for months.

"We can not continue like this" said coalition chair David Amsalem, according to Haaretz.

Ultra-Orthodox parties consider conscription a taboo.

Netanyahu's coalition has been teetering on the edge with a one-seat majority since the November 14 resignation of the Israeli minister for military affairs, Avigdor Liberman, who stepped down over the Tel Aviv's handling of ongoing tensions in the Gaza Strip.

Israel to hold early election in April
Israel will hold early elections as parliament prepares to dissolve

Netanyahu - leader of the conservative Likud party - is at the same time struggling to keep together his coalition's one-seat majority in the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

Just six week ago, Netanyahu said the time was not right for early elections because of the country's tricky security situation.

"The hourglass for Benjamin Netanyahu's term is ending", it said.

A series of corruption probes against Netanyahu and pending decisions by Israel's attorney general on whether to follow police recommendations to indict him had raised speculation he would opt to seek a public show of confidence at the ballot box.

Netanyahu had hoped to enlist the support of parties outside the coalition to support the bill, but when it became clear that the government would not garner the parliamentary support necessary from the opposition, new elections were announced.

But some experts believe Netanyahu would be in a better position to face potential charges with a fresh electoral mandate.

Netanyahu, who now serves as Israel's minister for military affairs, foreign minister and health minister, will be running for his fifth term as prime minister in the upcoming vote.

In his comments on Monday, the premier cited Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there - a major victory for Israel.

He blamed Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid for the need to get to early elections. Rarely do governments last an entire term, due to Israel's complex parliamentary system.

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