Just days before going to the polls for the second time this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, to much fanfare on home turf, that he planned to annex the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank should he secure another term in office.
It was a move intended to rally right-wing voters behind his party, Likud, which remains in close competition with the opposition Blue and White list. Having failed to form a government in April’s election and with corruption charges looming over him, the stakes have never been higher for Mr Netanyahu. Read more
With just over two months to go before the second Israeli election this year, and with the latest polls predicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will struggle to meet the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition, former Israeli minister and current Yisrael Beiteinu party chair Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the kingmaker. Last month the veteran politician expressed his desire for a unity government between Likud and the opposition Blue and White list. Mr Lieberman, whose refusal to form a coalition with Likud triggered the dissolution of the Knesset in May, told Israeli radio: “We will aim for a government with Likud and with [the Blue and White party] and that will be an emergency government, a national liberal government. We will do everything to limit the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] so that they won’t enter government.” Read more
Israel’s elections on Tuesday remain too close to call. With Likud and the Blue and White list polling neck and neck, incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu likely has the easiest path to forming a new coalition government – but challenger Benny Gantz could yet emerge as prime minister.
The election has been framed as Netanyahu versus “anyone but Netanyahu”, the radical right versus establishment security figures, or in terms of competing “blocs” in the Knesset, the right and ultra-Orthodox on the one hand, versus centre-right and centre-left parties on the other. Read more