Israeli PM avoids early elections over ultra-Orthodox draft

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his coalition has struck a compromise to avoid taking the country to early elections.

Netanyahu's coalition had been divided over a bill that would grant exemptions from military service to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men, a divisive issue among Israelis.

Under Tuesday's compromise, the small Yisrael Beitenu party, which opposed the bill, will be allowed to vote against it. Even without the party's support, the bill is expected to pass.

The political showdown came as Netanyahu faces a possible indictment on corruption charges. The opposition accused Netanyahu of manufacturing the crisis in order to force a new election to distract attention from his legal problems and shore up his position by winning re-election ahead of a possible indictment.

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