Netanyahu says new elections would be 'irresponsible'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 18

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 18

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Netanyahu says he will take over temporaril

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Netanyahu says he will take over temporaril

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister says it would be "irresponsible" to dissolve the government and call early elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu issued the message on Monday, moments before his education minister, Naftali Bennett, was to announce whether he's pulling his Jewish Home Party out of the coalition.

If Bennett leaves, it would cause the government to collapse and trigger new elections.

Bennett has threatened to withdraw from the coalition to protest a cease-fire reached by Netanyahu last week with Hamas militants. Netanyahu's defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned in protest.

Bennett had demanded the defense portfolio as a condition for remaining in the government. But late Sunday, Netanyahu said he would take the job himself.

Netanyahu says he will do whatever is needed to protect the country, regardless of his coalition partners' decision.