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Netanyahu hangs on, drags Israel toward third election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence on a rotation agreement and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz' rejection of an indicted partner have Israel headed for a third election.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem December 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RC2ZQD929P8U
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This article is being written 16 hours before the 22nd Knesset will be dissolved, about three months after being chosen by the Israeli public. If no last-minute drama takes place, Israel will have to declare its third general elections in less than a year. Support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who succeeded in attaining a bloc of 60 Knesset seats (without Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu) in April, deteriorated to only 55 seats in September. New polls indicate a continuation of the trend. Netanyahu is sliding toward departure from the prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street, a criminal trial and even perhaps imprisonment.

Right now in Israel, all political forces are bracing for a showdown, despite the predictions of the politicians and evaluations of almost all commentators (including the writer of this article). There are three people behind this imbroglio: Netanyahu, who clings to what's left of his power; Liberman, who is sticking to his campaign promise and is determined to end the Netanyahu era, even though he had originally been Netanyahu’s right-hand man; and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who floundered too long before deciding not to be seduced by the president's plan and Netanyahu’s ostensible agreement to temporary incapacitation after only a half-year term.

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