Knesset plenum
Knesset plenum Esti Desiubov/TPS

The Knesset plenum on Monday night approved the first reading of the bill to dissolve the Knesset.

66 MKs voted in favor, 44 voted against and five abstained.

The special committee discussing the dissolution of the Knesset is expected to convene on Tuesday morning to prepare the bill for its second and third readings.

Earlier on Monday evening, the committee determined that the elections for the 22nd Knesset will take place on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

The date, however, is not final and is expected to change ahead of the final vote in the Knesset plenum. Committee chairman MK Miki Zohar (Likud) said at the start of the discussion, "Anyone who votes against the bill helps Benny Gantz form a government."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is continuing his efforts to prevent elections and establish a right-wing government. The businessman who is conducting the coalition negotiations on behalf of MK Avigdor Liberman, Shmuel Hayek, is expected to return to Israel overnight Monday and continue with the talks.

Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu instructed Likud ministers and Knesset members to launch an attack against Liberman over his decision to oppose the establishment of a right-wing government.

"I've now informed the Likud ministers and Knesset members: After evaluating a new situation - open season on Liberman," Netanyahu said.

The Prime Minister earlier said that there was still time to form a coalition and avert new elections.

"There's no reason to drag the country to unnecessary elections that will cost a fortune and paralyze us all for another half a year," Netanyahu said.

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