After nearly a month of fraught negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has abandoned his attempt to form a new government. On Monday, the longtime leader, who heads the conservative Likud party, acknowledged his failure to cobble together a coalition from last month’s muddled election results, and he returned the mandate to President Reuven Rivlin.
Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz. With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed. An official result was still hours, perhaps days off.
Current and former Israeli officials are pushing back hard Thursday on an explosive report claiming their country planted spy devices near the White House and other locations in Washington, D.C., calling it “fake news spiced with anti-Semitism” and “absolute nonsense.” The exposé from Politico, based on interviews with former senior U.S. officials familiar with the matter, stated that the government believes Israel planted cellphone surveillance devices in the nation’s capital over the past few years.
Arab nations have condemned a plan by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to annex a third of the occupied West Bank. On Tuesday Mr Netanyahu pledged to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea if he is returned to office following a general election next week. Officials in Jordan and Saudi Arabia sharply criticized the announcement.
Israel announced Thursday it was barring the entry of two Democratic US congresswomen after Donald Trump encouraged the move. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told CNN on Thursday of Israel’s decision to ban Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from entering the country. The announcement came shortly after Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” by allowing them to enter the country.
An Israeli Cabinet minister has sparked outrage from politicians, medical professionals and the country’s gay community by suggesting conversion therapy “is possible” and saying he “did it” in the past. Peretz later attempted to clarify his initial comments, saying he did not suggest it was necessary to send children for conversion therapy, and that the ministry of education under his leadership will continue to accept all Israeli children without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
Israel’s parliament has voted to dissolve itself after Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government, in a move that will lead to a second round of elections just one month after the country held a national poll. Coalition talks stalled after far-right former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, a Netanyahu ally-turned-rival, refused to back the prime minister. At a suspenseful gathering that ended weeks of unsuccessful bartering and brinkmanship, the Knesset voted to disperse and call new elections, set for 17 September.
An Israeli spacecraft attempting to make history by becoming the first privately funded craft to land on the moon suffered an engine malfunction during its descent and crashed onto the lunar surface. The Beresheet spacecraft was to have touched down on the moon between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. But officials with SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit organization behind the mission, reported that they lost contact with the four-legged spacecraft as it neared the surface of the moon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to reelection on Wednesday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority despite a close contest against his main centrist challenger, a vote tally showed. With more than 97 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party looked likely to muster enough support to control 65 of the Knesset’s 120 seats and be named to head the next coalition government – a record fifth term as premier.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Saturday that he would extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank if re-elected. Israelis head to the polls on Tuesday and in the final stretch of the tight race, Netanyahu is competing for votes with right-wing parties who support annexing part of the West Bank. Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now, withheld from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank.