Israeli army draft bill spat could spark early elections

Israel's prime minister is holding emergency negotiations with key coalition partners in hopes of averting a crisis that has threatened to plunge the country into early elections.

Members of Benjamin Netanyahu's government have been quarreling over whether to extend military draft exemptions afforded to ultra-Orthodox men.

His religious partners say they will not vote for the 2019 budget without draft exemptions, while a key secular partner has vowed to bolt the coalition if the budget isn't passed soon.

A letter Sunday by the lawmakers' Council of Torah Sages, a policy-making body, rejected a compromise offer, saying there was no change in the religious party's stance.

The political woes come as Netanyahu is battling corruption allegations. But his base appears to be rallying behind him and he is rising in polls.