(Reuters) – Friction between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over relations with the United States fuelled talk on Wednesday of an early Israeli election.
Ministers said the quarrel, Barak’s resistance to Defense cuts in coalition budget talks and his dovish comments on peace efforts with the Palestinians were signs of a fraying alliance with Netanyahu and a national ballot as early as February.
“It looks like the disputes herald an election,” Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Army Radio.
Allies in the governing coalition and commando comrades decades ago in the Israeli military, the two leaders have largely presented a united front when it comes to dealing with what they see as an Iranian drive to obtain a nuclear bomb.
But now that Netanyahu has hinted heavily in a U.N. speech last week that an Israeli strike against Iran is not imminent, the infighting between the right-wing Likud leader and Barak, head of the small centrist Atzmaut party, has begun in earnest.
In a report on Tuesday, Israel’s Channel 2 television quoted Netanyahu as telling his finance minister: “Do you know what Barak has done on diplomatic matters? He went to the United States to stir up the argument between us and (President Barack) Obama and come across as a moderate savior.”
Reuters has the full article