Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival has reportedly agreed to join a unity government, ending a year of political deadlock. Benny Gantz’s surprise election as speaker of parliament on Thursday paved the way for the deal. He will stay in the role until he is named foreign minister, Israeli media report, and will then take over the premiership in September 2021.
Exit polls from Israel’s third election within a year suggested Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing allies are ahead but still one seat short of a parliamentary majority needed to form a government. The polls suggested a stunning turnaround in support for the embattled leader. Netanyahu could win if his alliance with smaller rightwing parties gains a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
Israelis voted Monday in the country’s unprecedented third election in less than a year to decide whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stays in power despite his upcoming criminal trial on corruption charges. Netanyahu, the longest-serving leader in Israeli history, has been the caretaker prime minister for more than a year as a divided Israel has weathered two inconclusive elections and a prolonged political paralysis.
The UN has published a list of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the US-based TripAdvisor and Airbnb and the British truck and digger maker JCB. Most of the 112 companies linked to settlements, which are regarded as illegal under international law, were Israeli. The list included 18 international firms, including the London-based online travel agency Opodo and the Netherlands-based Booking.com.
A Syrian passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing at a Russian-controlled airbase in Syria during Israeli airstrikes on Damascus earlier this week, the Russian defense ministry said. An Airbus A-320 carrying 172 passengers from Tehran was diverted from Damascus airport in the early hours of Thursday to nearby Khmeimim airbase after Syrian air defenses nearly hit it during an attempt to repulse the alleged Israeli attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he will ask parliament to grant him immunity from corruption charges, a step that is expected to delay his trial for months. The step most likely puts the trial on hold until after elections in March, when he hopes to win a majority coalition that will shield him from prosecution.
Benjamin Netanyahu has won a landslide victory in a primary election for leadership of the ruling Likud party in Israel. The prime minister, head of Likud for the past 14 years, retained the famously loyal rightwing party’s leadership in the internal ballot, despite battling three damning corruption indictments. There had been speculation that Saar, his former protege turned rival, could dent the 70-year-old’s previously watertight Likud party support.
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at a southern Israeli city as it hosted a campaign rally prompted the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to take shelter briefly before resuming the event, Israeli TV stations have reported. The Israeli military said it had deployed fighter jets and helicopters to bomb Gaza overnight in response to the strike.
Israel will hold an unprecedented third general election in less than a year after politicians again failed to form a majority coalition in parliament. Members of the Knesset voted to set the election date for 2 March hours after a midnight (22:00 GMT) deadline passed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz, were unable to secure majorities following September’s inconclusive election.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment is expected to sharpen the battle lines in Israel’s already deadlocked political system and could test the loyalty of his right-wing allies, Israeli commentators said Friday. In an angry speech late Thursday, Netanyahu lashed out at investigators and vowed to fight on in the face of an “attempted coup.”