Middle East

Israeli coalition crisis raises threat of new elections

FILE -- In this Thursday, March 16, 2017 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Netanyahu has backed out of an agreement to establish a new broadcasting authority, creating a coalition crisis with one of his key partners that could potentially lead to early elections. Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday, March 19, 2017, that his coalition partners were required to side with his ruling Likud party regarding all media regulation matters. (Amir Cohen/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE -- In this Thursday, March 16, 2017 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Netanyahu has backed out of an agreement to establish a new broadcasting authority, creating a coalition crisis with one of his key partners that could potentially lead to early elections. Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday, March 19, 2017, that his coalition partners were required to side with his ruling Likud party regarding all media regulation matters. (Amir Cohen/Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Israel's prime minister has backed out of an agreement to establish a new broadcasting authority, creating a coalition crisis with one of his key partners that could lead to early elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday his coalition partners were required to side with his ruling Likud party regarding all media regulation matters. The conflict centers on the fate of the struggling state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority. Netanyahu initially ordered it shut down and replaced with a new corporation, only to reverse course once the emerging personnel of the new body did not seem favorable to his administration. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the centrist Kulanu party, insists the corporation start broadcasting next month as planned.

The crisis has sparked speculation that the coalition could fall apart, and new elections called.