After weeks of sniping between members of his government over a controversial nationality bill and other issues, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ejected two prominent ministers from his cabinet and called for early elections. Once Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is dissolved, the elections could be held as early as March.
The nationality bill — which would underscore Israel's status as a Jewish state — has grabbed headlines, with critics saying it represented another step away from Israel's founding democratic principles. But analysts told The New York Times that the elections are really about Netanyahu's wish to secure a more cohesive governing coalition, one that is possibly more uniformly right wing. Netanyahu assailed the two ousted cabinet ministers — Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid — for criticizing his policies.