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Yearbook 1998

1998 IsraelIsrael. According to Countryaah, Israel was characterized during the year by a political crisis that culminated just before the turn of the year when the government's position weakened to the extent that new elections were announced until May 17, 1999. The explanation was a major dissatisfaction with the unpredictability of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a politician.

In January, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister David Levy resigned from the government with reference to the lack of progress in the peace process. His party, Gesher, with five seats in parliament ended up supporting the coalition, which thus gained a minimal majority in parliament: 61-59. The location was delicate. Nationalists threatened to leave the government if Netanyahu ordered a military withdrawal from the West Bank, while liberal government members threatened to do the same if the withdrawal expired at the time.

1998 Israel

In October, the so-called Wye Agreement, where Netanyahu agreed with the Palestinians on a withdrawal. That this was stopped helped little; the extremist nationalist small parties stopped supporting the government. Netanyahu and the new Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon announced that new elections must be held, which in turn prompted Finance Minister Yaqov Neeman to leave the government. Among those who previously left Likud were several liberal front figures such as former Justice and Finance Minister Dan Meridor and Tel Aviv's former mayor Roni Milo. They were supposed to liaise within a new center block with the departed commander Amnon Shahak. The result was a changed political landscape, where Likud and the Social Democratic Labor Party faced competition from a middle bloc and a reinforced outer right wing. The new center's strongest candidate for the Prime Minister's post was Shahak, but the 1999 election was difficult to predict. For example, opposition to Netanyahu within Likud was so great that it was highly uncertain whether he would become the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Netanyahu was also subjected to severe pressure from the outside world. The United States, in harsh terms, demanded Israeli compromises vis-角-vis the Palestinians, and once the Wyoming agreement came to an end, the Americans were very annoyed that Israel demanded that spy Jonathan Pollard be released from American prison. In February, it was discovered that the intelligence service Mossad conducted a failed operation in Switzerland, and Israel apologized to the Swiss. Netanyahu set up a dinner with British Foreign Minister Robin Cook in March after shaking hands with a Palestinian politician during a visit to Har Homa.

In May, the United Nations Anti-Torture Committee ruled that the Shin Beth security service had used methods that violate the UN Convention on Torture. At the same time, the European Commission urged Union members to stop importing Israeli settlements into the occupied territories. In July, the UN Security Council called for the withdrawal of plans to expand the border of Jerusalem so that the city's area was sixfold. In September, the human rights organization accused Amnesty International Israel of human rights violations.

In a vote in parliament in March, Ezer Weizman was re-elected president for another five-year term. He defeated Netanyahu's candidate, MP Shaul Amor. During his first term in office, Weizman had pushed the boundaries of the political office.

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