Quantcast
Connect with us

Israel votes on Netanyahu’s political survival

Published

on

Israel votes Tuesday in its second election in five months, determining whether to extend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s term as the country’s longest-serving prime minister despite corruption allegations against him.

The stakes could not be much higher for the 69-year-old right-wing leader who, as in April polls, faces a strong challenge from ex-military chief Benny Gantz and his centrist Blue and White alliance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s former right-hand man turned rival, could play a kingmaker role with his campaign to “make Israel normal again.”

Polls open at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) and close at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) in most areas. Some 6.4 million people are eligible to cast ballots.

The first exit surveys will be released just after polls close, while official results are not expected until Wednesday.

Some 18,000 police, security guards and volunteers will be deployed.

AFP / Gal ROMA Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving premier

Opinion polls ahead of the election have indicated another tight race, showing Netanyahu’s Likud and Blue and White winning around 32 seats each in the 120-seat parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

Netanyahu enters the election after having suffered one of the biggest defeats of his political career after the April vote.

His Likud along with its right-wing and religious allies won a majority of seats, leading Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to task the premier with forming a new government.

But following weeks of discussions, Netanyahu failed to do so, leading him to opt for an unprecedented second election rather than risk having Rivlin choose someone else.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Immunity? –

The danger for Netanyahu extends beyond remaining prime minister, a post he has held for a total of more than 13 years, first from 1996-1999 and again since 2009.

ADVERTISEMENT

If he wins, many believe he will seek to have parliament grant him immunity from prosecution while facing the possibility of a corruption indictment in the weeks ahead.

AFP / JACK GUEZ Former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman wants legislation to force religious Jews to serve in the army like other Israelis

Israel’s attorney general has said he intends to indict Netanyahu for fraud, bribery and breach of trust pending a hearing expected only days after the election in early October. A final decision would come later.

Netanyahu would not be required to step down if indicted, only if convicted with all appeals exhausted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Recognizing the stakes, Netanyahu spent the final days of the campaign seeking to appeal to right-wing nationalists — key to his re-election bid — and to boost turnout among his base.

Those efforts have included a controversial pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, a third of the territory.

He has issued unfounded warnings that the vote could be stolen by fraud in Arab communities, leading critics to accuse him of racism.

But Netanyahu has also highlighted the country’s growing economy and his relationships with world leaders such as US President Donald Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

He has tried to label his main opponents “weak” and “leftist” despite their security credentials.

“This is the choice that is open to you: their left-wing government or a strong right-wing government led by me,” he said on Facebook Live on Monday.

– ‘Rude lies’ –

Gantz has campaigned by presenting himself as an honorable alternative to Netanyahu.

ADVERTISEMENT

He has repeatedly spoken of Netanyahu’s willingness to form a coalition with far-right parties that could help him seek immunity.

Gantz says his alliance, which includes three former military chiefs of staff, wants a unity government that the vast majority of Israelis would support.

AFP / Gal ROMA No single party has ever won an overall majority in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset

“Netanyahu continues to spread rude lies in a desperate attempt to save his government,” Gantz said Monday. “He lies, scolds, skewers, divides.”

Opinion polls show the campaign by Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party has resonated with voters.

His “make Israel normal again” slogan refers to what the staunch secularist says is the undue influence of ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties on the country’s politics.

ADVERTISEMENT

He accuses them of seeking to impose Jewish religious law on Israel’s secular population and wants legislation ending the ultra-Orthodox’s exemption from mandatory military service.

Lieberman prevented Netanyahu from forming a coalition after April polls when he refused to relent on his demand related to military service for the ultra-Orthodox.

It is not clear he will endorse Netanyahu as prime minister again, which could be enough for Rivlin to allow Gantz to try to form a government.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to donate $10 billion to fight climate change

Published

on

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday that he plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune to help fight climate change.

Bezos, the world’s richest man, said in an Instagram post that he'll start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits working to protect the earth.

“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change,” Bezos said in the post.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Fox News reports wages rose faster under Obama than Trump after his campaign lashes out at predecessor

Published

on

In what was possibly a hint to remind people of his legacy this Monday, former President Barack Obama gave a shout out to the anniversary of his signing of the 2009 economic stimulus package.

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history,” Obama tweeted with a photo of his signature on the bill.

https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1229432034650722304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fpolitics%2Ftrump-campaign-fires-back-after-obama-claims-credit-for-economic-boom

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

‘Bill Barr is un-American’: The AG’s ex-boss explains his ‘twisted’ worldview — and why he must be ousted

Published

on

In a new piece for the Atlantic, a man who once supervised Attorney General Bill Barrpublished an incisive call for the head of the Justice Department to resign while outlining his disturbing view of executive power.

Donald Ayer, the former deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, supervised Barr when he led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 and 1990. After Ayer left deputy attorney general position in 1990, Barr replaced him and then became attorney general, a position he returned to in 2019 under President Donald Trump.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image