ISRAEL was last night on the verge of an early general election as beleaguered Benjamin Netanyahu battled to hold his government together.
His coalition was thrown into crisis on Wednesday when hardline Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned, taking his Yisrael Beiteinu party with him.
This left the government with the narrowest of parliamentary majorities... and the days of Netanyahu's administration looking numbered.
An early poll appeared certain as other coalition partners flexed their muscles and Opposition parties demanding an election.
Tough-guy Lieberman's abrupt resignation was in protest at a ceasefire with Gaza that ended two days of bitter fighting and a 500-rocket blitz.
Calling the truce a "surrender to terrorism", he urged Netanyahu to carry on blasting the bomb-battered Gaza Strip - but the prime minister said Hamas had literally begged for Israel to hold back.
Last night, Bibi was locked in talks with the remaining coalition parties. But he looked to be fighting a losing battle.
He said he was taking over as defence minister... but his woes increased when the right-wingJewish Home party declared: "We want that job for our leader, Naftali Bennett, or we will quit the coalition."
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