Benjamin Netanyahu eyes comeback as Israeli government loses majority

Benjamin Netanyahu eyes comeback as Israeli government loses majority

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's pugnacious ex-prime minister, is planning a political comeback this Wednesday after the government led by his former protégé lost its majority last week. Mr Netanyahu's Right-wing Likud party is poised to raise a motion to dissolve the government following the resignation of one of its key coalition members last Thursday. The coalition, led by Naftali Bennett, was left reeling after the lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi stepped down in protest at extreme Right-wing rhetoric from senior figures. It means Mr Bennett now heads a minority government, commanding just 59 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset, the…
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Out, but not down, Netanyahu could be tough opposition leader

Out, but not down, Netanyahu could be tough opposition leader

Long the familiar face of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is headed to the political sidelines after serving as prime minister for more than a decade. But even as he battles in court against corruption charges that he denies, Netanyahu, as opposition leader, will be poised to pounce on a new governing coalition of right-wing, centrist and Arab parties with little in common other than a desire to unseat him. In a likely taste of things to come, a stern-looking Netanyahu, 71, has decried the creation of a "dangerous, left-wing government". "Fraud of the century," he declared indignantly after fellow right-winger Naftali…
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UPDATED: Israel’s Knesset to vote on new government, end Netanyahu’s record reign

UPDATED: Israel’s Knesset to vote on new government, end Netanyahu’s record reign

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record 12-year hold on power was set to end on Sunday when parliament votes on a new government, ushering in an administration that has pledged to heal a nation bitterly divided over his departure. Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years. The new cabinet, which will be sworn in after a Knesset confidence vote it is expected to win, was cobbled together by the centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett. Bennett, a hawkish…
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New Israeli government seals coalition deals as Netanyahu era approaches its end

New Israeli government seals coalition deals as Netanyahu era approaches its end

The new Israeli government set to end Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister signed its final coalition agreements on Friday, pointedly including term limits. The coalition of parties from far-right to left is expected to focus mostly on economic and social issues rather than risk exposing internal rifts by trying to address major diplomatic issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, will be succeeded on Sunday by a coalition that includes for the first time a party from Israel's Arab minority. Under a power-sharing agreement, Naftali Bennett, of the ultra-nationalist Yamina (Rightwards) party, will serve as…
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Netanyahu faces end of rule in parliamentary vote on new government

Netanyahu faces end of rule in parliamentary vote on new government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an end to his long hold on power in Israel on Sunday when the country's legislature votes on approving an improbable government of diverse parties that came together to unseat him. "It's happening!" opposition leader Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party wrote on Twitter on Tuesday after parliament's speaker announced the June 13 special session. As things stand, the coalition of right-wing, left-wing, centrist and Arab parties commands a majority in the 120-member Knesset and would be sworn in the same day once it is approved, with nationalist Naftali Bennett becoming prime minister. "The unity government is on its way, for the good…
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Israel is set for a change of government. Who? When? Why?

Israel is set for a change of government. Who? When? Why?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is on the verge of being toppled from power after more than a decade in office. The 71-year-old right-winger looks set to be ousted by an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist and other parties who clinched a deal to form a government that would break a period of unprecedented political deadlock that saw four elections in two years. WHO ARE THE NEW GUARD? NAFTALI BENNETT, 49, heads the ultra-nationalist party Yamina - "Rightwards". The religious, pro-settler, party won only seven of the Knesset's 120 seats in the March 23 election but he emerged first…
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Netanyahu, fighting for political life, hits back at deal to unseat him

Netanyahu, fighting for political life, hits back at deal to unseat him

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday fought back against an agreement by his political opponents for a government of left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties aimed at unseating him. Netanyahu, facing the prospect of an end to his 12-year run as premier, said on Twitter "all legislators elected by votes from the right must oppose this dangerous left-wing government". It was the first public pushback by Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, against centrist politician Yair Lapid's announcement about 35 minutes before a Wednesday night deadline that he had succeeded in forming a governing coalition. Under the deal, nationalist…
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UPDATED: Israel’s opposition declares new government, set to unseat Netanyahu

UPDATED: Israel’s opposition declares new government, set to unseat Netanyahu

Israel's opposition leader moved closer to unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announcing an agreement with a coalition of diverse political allies to form a new government. But the fragile alliance, which would command a thin majority in parliament, was expected to be sworn in only in about 10-12 days, leaving slight room for Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, to try to turn lawmakers against it. About 35 minutes before a Wednesday midnight deadline, centrist politician Yair Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin in an email: "I am honoured to inform you that I have succeeded in forming a government." Under the coalition…
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Netanyahu’s grip on power loosens as rival moves to unseat him

Netanyahu’s grip on power loosens as rival moves to unseat him

Far-right party leader Naftali Bennett threw his crucial support on Sunday behind a "unity government" in Israel to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in what would be the end of a political era. Bennett's decision, which he announced in a televised address, could enable opposition chief Yair Lapid to put together a coalition of right-wing, centrist and leftist parties and hand Netanyahu his first election defeat since 1999. Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party that finished second to Netanyahu's right-wing Likud in an inconclusive March 23 national ballot, faces a Wednesday deadline from Israel's president to announce a…
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Biden tells Netanyahu he wants “de-escalation” of Israel-Gaza fighting

Biden tells Netanyahu he wants “de-escalation” of Israel-Gaza fighting

U.S. President Joe Biden pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to reduce tensions in the Gaza conflict on the path to a ceasefire, a White House spokeswoman said. Netanyahu said earlier he could not set a timeframe for an end to 10 days of hostilities as Israel's military pounded the Palestinian enclave with air strikes and Gaza's ruling Hamas militants unleashed new cross-border rocket attacks. But an Egyptian security source said the two sides had agreed to a ceasefire in principle after help from mediators, although details were still being negotiated in secret amid public denials of a…
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Netanyahu poised to gain political lifeline as violence flares

Netanyahu poised to gain political lifeline as violence flares

Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel dealt a strong blow on Thursday to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main political rival Yair Lapid to form a new government and unseat the Israeli leader. Naftali Bennett, head of the ultranationalist Yamina party and a kingmaker after an inconclusive March 23 parliamentary election, said he was abandoning coalition talks with Lapid, the opposition leader, preferring a wider unity government. Lapid, who heads the centrist Yesh Atid party, has three weeks left in a 28-day mandate from Israel's president to try to form a governing coalition. If he fails, a…
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Netanyahu’s favours were ‘currency’, prosecutor says as corruption trial starts

Netanyahu’s favours were ‘currency’, prosecutor says as corruption trial starts

An Israeli prosecutor told a court on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had helped a business couple to clinch deals worth hundred of millions of shekels in exchange for favourable coverage of him on a news website they controlled. Speaking at the opening of Netanyahu's corruption trial, state prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari said: "The relationship between Netanyahu and the (co-) defendants became currency, something that could be traded." "This currency could distort a public servant's judgment," Ben-Ari said. Netanyahu has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in a case that, along with an inconclusive…
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Israel’s Netanyahu in court for corruption trial

Israel’s Netanyahu in court for corruption trial

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal and political troubles will play out simultaneously on Monday, at his corruption trial and in the president's residence. Judges ordered Netanyahu to be in court for the prosecution's opening argument on three cases involving charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin will begin talks over who should lead the next government after a fourth inconclusive election on March 23. A man wearing a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a protest outside the district court in Salah El-Din, East Jerusalem, 05 April 2021. Netanyahu is facing trial…
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UPDATED: Netanyahu cancels planned UAE visit

UPDATED: Netanyahu cancels planned UAE visit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed media reports he had been due to visit the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, saying in a statement the trip was postponed due to "difficulties" in coordinating his flight via Jordan's airspace.  Such a visit would have been the first by an Israeli prime minister to the Gulf power. Israeli media reported the planned visit on Wednesday, saying Netanyahu would meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Commentators deemed it as a chance for Netanyahu to flourish his diplomatic credentials ahead of Israel's March 23 election. Earlier on Thursday, Israeli media…
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Netanyahu pleads not guilty to corruption charges as trial resumes

Netanyahu pleads not guilty to corruption charges as trial resumes

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded not guilty on Monday to corruption charges at the resumption of his trial some six weeks before Israeli voters again pass judgment on his leadership. "I confirm the written answer submitted in my name," Netanyahu said, standing before a three-judge panel in a heavily-guarded Jerusalem District Court. He was referring to a document his lawyers gave the court last month in which they argued he was not guilty of charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud. Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 in long-running cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for…
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Israeli cabinet minister confirms Netanyahu’s Saudi meeting

Israeli cabinet minister confirms Netanyahu’s Saudi meeting

A member of Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet and Likud party confirmed media reports on Monday that the Israeli prime minister had held a meeting in Saudi Arabia, calling it an "amazing achievement". "The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially right now, is a matter of great importance," Education Minister Yoav Gallant told Army Radio when asked about Sunday's visit, in which Israeli media said Netanyahu met the Saudi crown prince and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly flew to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin…
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Israel’s Netanyahu congratulates Biden on U.S. election win, thanks Trump

Israel’s Netanyahu congratulates Biden on U.S. election win, thanks Trump

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after his election win saying he looked forward to working together with the new administration and strengthening the two countries' alliance.  "Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. Joe, we've had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel," Netanyahu said on his Twitter account, which still carries a photograph of him and incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump at…
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Thousands of Israelis protest against Netanyahu

Thousands of Israelis protest against Netanyahu

Thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday over his alleged corruption and the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crowd rallied outside Netanyahu's residence, blowing whistles, waving signs and flags and calling for his resignation. Smaller protests were held along bridges at major intersections in cities across Israel. Israeli media estimated that about 10,000 people attended what has become a weekly demonstration in Jerusalem. The protests built up over the summer as COVID-19 cases spiked. With a population of nine million, Israel has reported almost 150,000 infections cases and more than 1,000 deaths.…
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Israeli protesters, decrying corruption, keep pressure on Netanyahu

Israeli protesters, decrying corruption, keep pressure on Netanyahu

Thousands of Israelis protested in Jerusalem on Saturday night against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the summer outcry denouncing alleged corruption and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic showed little signs of abating. A large crowd marched in the streets outside Netanyahu’s official residence, waving signs and flags and calling for his resignation. Some protesters clashed with police, who arrested at least seven people. One police officer was injured. The protest movement has gained traction in the summer months, with critics accusing Netanyahu of being distracted by a corruption case against him while COVID-19 cases have spiked. He denies…
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Israel’s “Bibi generation” starts to turn on Netanyahu over economy and COVID-19

Israel’s “Bibi generation” starts to turn on Netanyahu over economy and COVID-19

For two months, many Israeli television viewers watched nightly as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued warnings and updates about the novel coronavirus and imposed lockdowns. When infections fell, he went on television on May 26 to boast of his success. "Have a beer. Enjoy yourselves," he said. Many Israelis did just that. But infections later surged, and opinions polls showed confidence in Netanyahu was falling. He now faces nationwide protests over the state of the economy, hit by the coronavirus. Waving banners outside the prime minister's Jerusalem residence, the demonstrators are led by young people who scarcely remember any other…
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Netanyahu announces more cash grants to counter public anger over handling of coronavirus crisis

Netanyahu announces more cash grants to counter public anger over handling of coronavirus crisis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday a plan for government grants for all Israelis amid growing public anger over his handling of a coronavirus crisis that has taken a sharp turn for the worse. ritics seized on the 6 billion shekel ($1.75 billion) handout package as a bid to boost the veteran leader’s popularity before a widely expected series of new lockdowns. Payments will range between 750 shekels ($219) for individuals to up to 3,000 shekels ($875) for families with three or more children, Netanyahu said in a special TV address. Now in his fifth term, Netanyahu is grappling…
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“Bibi go home” – protests in Israel against government’s economic policies

“Bibi go home” – protests in Israel against government’s economic policies

Hundreds of people blocked roads and clashed with police in Tel Aviv Saturday evening at the end of a mass protest that saw some 10,000 demonstrate against the government’s economic policies during the coronavirus crisis. Times of Israel reports that after the end of the main demonstration at Rabin Square, several hundred people blocked traffic and clashed with police at several locations, including the city’s Ibn Gabirol Street, Rothschild Boulevard and the Azrieli intersection. Videos on social media showed scuffles between cops and protesters as some chanted “Bibi go home,” using the prime minister’s nickname. Times of Israel / YNET
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Netanyahu’s corruption trial starts

Netanyahu’s corruption trial starts

Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli prime minister to go on trial, proclaiming his innocence in the corridor before walking into court to face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The trial came a week after Israel's longest-serving leader was sworn in to a record fifth term, demonstrating his knack for survival by securing an unexpected power-sharing deal with his main opponent after three inconclusive elections in a year. He says the cases against him are a left-wing plot to unseat him. Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in November in cases involving gifts from millionaire friends…
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Netanyahu becomes first serving Israeli PM to face criminal prosecution on corruption charges

Netanyahu becomes first serving Israeli PM to face criminal prosecution on corruption charges

The long-awaited corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu is due to open in Jerusalem, where he will become the first serving Israeli prime minister to face criminal prosecution. Netanyahu is required to appear for Sunday's session in Jerusalem District Court, a week after being sworn into office for a fifth term. Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in three criminal cases last November. He denies all wrongdoing. In one case it is alleged that Netanyahu granted regulatory favours worth around 1.8 billion shekels (about $500 million) to Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq Telecom Israel. In return, prosecutors say, he sought positive coverage of himself and his wife on…
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New fears Netanyahu could be infected

New fears Netanyahu could be infected

An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Monday, but it was not immediately clear if the 70-year-old leader had been exposed or his work affected. “We will take action in accordance with Health Ministry directives,” an official said, announcing the diagnosis of the parliamentary aide, whom Israeli media described as being in good condition. The Health Ministry generally requires 14-day self-isolation and possible coronavirus testing for anyone deemed to have been in proximity with an infected person. Israeli media said the aide had been present at a parliament session last week…
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Israel’s Netanyahu falls short of parliamentary majority

Israel’s Netanyahu falls short of parliamentary majority

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again fallen short of a parliamentary majority with his hardline allies, final election results confirmed on Thursday, extending the country's year-old political deadlock and weakening the longtime leader as he prepares to go on trial on corruption charges.   The embattled Netanyahu had been looking for a decisive victory in Monday's vote, and initial exit polls indicated his Likud party and smaller religious and nationalist allies captured 60 seats, just one short of a majority required to form a new government. The final count announced by the election commission determined that Netanyahu's jubilation was…
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Netanyahu declares victory in Israeli election

Netanyahu declares victory in Israeli election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory on Tuesday in Israel's third election in less than a year, after television exit polls showed him just a seat short of a governing majority in parliament. The Jerusalem Post reports that Netanyahu succeeded in winning 60 seats for his bloc of right-wing and religious parties in Monday’s election, one less than he needed for a majority in the Knesset, according to exit polls on the three television networks. It adds that the first polls indicated that Netanyahu’s Likud won 36-37 seats. Its allies in Shas, UTJ and Yamina won 9, 7-8 and 6-7 respectively.…
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Netanyahu withdraws bid for parliamentary immunity

Netanyahu withdraws bid for parliamentary immunity

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution on corruption charges, making a criminal trial against him a near certainty. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that an immunity debate in parliament would have been a "circus" and he did not want to take part in this "dirty game". He said that he informed the speaker of the Knesset that he was withdrawing my immunity request. Within hours of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrawing his immunity request on Tuesday, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit filed an indictment with the Jerusalem District Court against him for…
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Trump meets Netanyahu ahead of MiddleEast peace plan

Trump meets Netanyahu ahead of MiddleEast peace plan

US President Donald Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, to discuss a Middle East peace plan that has already been rejected by the Palestinians. DW reports that "amid a heated impeachment trial and a difficult reelection campaign, Trump is devoting both Monday and Tuesday to discussing the contested plan with both Netanyahu and the Israeli premier's rival, Benny Gantz." Trump said he believed both the Israeli prime minister and opposition leader Ganz would like his peace plan, which he said would be released at noon local time on Tuesday. "I think it…
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Netanyahu’s immunity request to be rejected, paving way for trial

Netanyahu’s immunity request to be rejected, paving way for trial

Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon is expected to rule on Sunday that Speaker Yuli Edelstein cannot halt the formation of the committee to hear the prime minister’s request for immunity. Since there is a clear majority in the Knesset opposed to granting immunity to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset House Committee would almost certainly vote down his request, which would pave the way for his indictments to be formally passed to the Jerusalem District Court. Blue and White, Labor, Democratic Union and the Arab parties have all expressed opposition to granting the prime minister immunity, and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman…
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Netanyahu quits ministerial positions

Netanyahu quits ministerial positions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced shortly before midnight on Wednesday that he was quitting his cabinet posts because of his criminal indictments. Facing a High Court of Justice petition, Netanyahu announced on December 12 that he would drop all his portfolios on January 1 other then his role as prime minister. Beside being prime minister, Netanyahu was social welfare minister, Diaspora affairs minister and acting agricultural minister. He was also the health minister – until Sunday, when the cabinet approved the promotion of deputy health minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism). The Movement for Quality Government in Israel had threatened…
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Netanyahu easily wins Likud Party leadership bid

Netanyahu easily wins Likud Party leadership bid

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily won a vote to keep the Likud party helm, the party said on Friday, in a boost ahead of what is likely to be a hard-fought general election in March. Al Jazeera reports that Israel's longest-serving prime minister, who faces a corruption indictment and a third general election in twelve months, was expected to beat rival Gideon Saar but a close result could have weakened his influence over the party he has dominated for 20 years. Netanyahu declared victory soon after midnight Thursday-Friday, as the count was underway, while Sa’ar conceded an hour later. As…
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Netanyahu in party leadership challenge

Netanyahu in party leadership challenge

  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being challenged for the leadership of his party in what is seen as a test of his hold on power. He is facing long-term rival Gideon Saar in internal Likud party elections. Although Mr Netanyahu is expected to win, it comes at a time of mounting difficulties for the veteran leader. He faces trial on bribery and corruption charges, as well as a third national election within a year after two inconclusive results. Mr Netanyahu has campaigned tirelessly even though he is widely expected to triumph, because he wants to win big -…
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Rocket shot from Gaza interrupts Netanyahu rally

Rocket shot from Gaza interrupts Netanyahu rally

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu was hustled off the stage during a leadership rally under rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. It comes just a day before a tense leadership battle for control of the Likud party begins. The rocket was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, said the Israel Defense Forces. A video shows the prime minister being ushered from the stage together with his wife, Sara, and aides after warning sirens interrupted his rally. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the group was taken to a shelter after being evacuated, with the prime minister returning later to finish off his speech.…
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Netanyahu: Hezbollah will pay a price if it attacks Israel

Netanyahu: Hezbollah will pay a price if it attacks Israel

Hezbollah had better not dare attack Israel or it will pay, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “If Hezbollah dares to attack Israel, the organization and the country of Lebanon, which allows attacks against us from its territory, will pay a heavy price,” he said. The prime minister referred to a recent statement by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj.-Gen. Murteza Qurbani that Iran will “destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon.” “He exposed a simple truth,” Netanyahu said. “Hezbollah is simply the executive arm of Iran from Lebanon, against Israel.” The prime minister added that…
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Netanyahu to quit all my ministerial duties by January 1 except role of PM

Netanyahu to quit all my ministerial duties by January 1 except role of PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that he will be dropping all of his portfolios on January 1 besides his role as premier. Currently, besides being prime minister, Netanyahu is health minister, social welfare minister, Diaspora minister and acting agricultural minister. Pressure for Netanyahu to drop these portfolios spiked after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced a final indictment for the prime minister on November 21. Shortly after, the Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel filed a petition to the High Court both to get Netanyahu fired as prime minister and to force his resignation from his other ministerial…
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Netanyahu cousin and associates to be charged with corruption

Netanyahu cousin and associates to be charged with corruption

Israel’s state prosecutor plans to indict several associates of Benjamin Netanyahu, including his cousin, for corruption in relation to a contentious £1.5bn deal to buy German submarines. The justice ministry said in a statement that seven men would be charged with various criminal offences, including bribery, money laundering and fraud, pending a pre-trial hearing. While Netanyahu is not a suspect, he was questioned in the long-running and high-profile investigation, known as Case 3,000. Thursday’s announcement will increase pressure on the prime minister as he faces his own separate corruption indictments as well as a political battle that could end his…
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Israeli protesters demand Netanyahu resign amid corruption charges

Israeli protesters demand Netanyahu resign amid corruption charges

A large crowd gathered in Tel Aviv late Saturday, waving Israeli flags and demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's resignation. The 70-year-old last week became the first sitting head of government in Israel's history to be indicted with fraud, bribery and breach of trust. Protesters at the rally, organized by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, held banners describing Netanyahu as a "corrupt" leader and calling for a "strong Israel, strong democracy." Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing and dismissed the charges against him as part of "an attempted coup." He is not required to step down unless he is convicted, but the charges…
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Netanyahu’s Likud to hold party leadership vote

Netanyahu’s Likud to hold party leadership vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party will hold a leadership vote, a Likud challenger said, as pressure mounted on the veteran leader to step aside after his indictment on corruption charges. Israeli media reported the Likud primary would be held in six weeks. A party spokesman was not reachable to confirm the timeline. Gideon Saar, a Likud lawmaker who has challenged Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter that he “welcomes the prime minister’s agreement to hold primaries for party leadership.” Netanyahu’s indictment last Thursday came amid political disarray in Israel, after neither Netanyahu nor his main challenger in the general election,…
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Corporate Dispatch – Diplomatique.Expert Week – 24.11.2019

Corporate Dispatch – Diplomatique.Expert Week – 24.11.2019

Malta regained its spot on the global news agenda following the dramatic developments in the investigations related to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The arrest of the businessman Yorgen Fenech, owner of the 17 Black company, after an attempt to flee the country, his request for pardon, following the one requested by the middleman in the murder, led to a number of protests and increase in pressure on Prime Minister Muscat. On the international scene Iran is being stirred by growing protests mainly over economic stagnation clutching the country. This week's edition features two insight articles on the developments…
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Israel PM vows to hold onto power, AG: It is my duty by law to indict Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel PM vows to hold onto power, AG: It is my duty by law to indict Benjamin Netanyahu

  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defiantly vowed to hold onto power after being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases - the first time in Israeli history against a sitting prime minister. He condemned the charges as a "coup" attempt against him. "I will not let the lie triumph," he said during a defiant speech. Mr Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favours to try to get more positive press coverage. During a 15-minute tirade, Mr Netanyahu accused the judiciary, police and others of plotting…
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Israel : Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on a series of corruption charges

Israel : Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on a series of corruption charges

Israel’s attorney general has formally charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment Thursday charging Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery. He was scheduled to address reporters later Thursday. Developing story via AP/ Reuters
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Gantz and Netanyahu hold talks to break Israeli political deadlock

Gantz and Netanyahu hold talks to break Israeli political deadlock

Israel’s prime minister and his main rival opened a new round of unity talks Sunday in the latest effort to break a political stalemate and avoid an unprecedented third parliamentary election in less than a year. Israel has been paralyzed by political deadlock following an inconclusive election last month, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud nor the rival Blue and White party in control of a 61-seat majority in parliament. After nearly a month of efforts, Netanyahu last week said he had failed to cobble together a coalition. Israel’s president has now given the task to Blue and White…
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Gantz rejects Netanyahu’s offer for a unity government

Gantz rejects Netanyahu’s offer for a unity government

Benny Gantz’s Blue and White coalition has ruled out a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu as the latest election results show them neck-and-neck, with an estimated 33 seats in parliament to Likud’s 31. A senior Blue and White leader, Moshe Yaalon, told reporters in Israel: "We will not enter a coalition led by Netanyahu." Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his main political rival, Benny Gantz, to form a unity government with him. The Israeli prime minister made the offer after a second general election failed to produce a clear winner. Netanyahu and his allies failed to garner a majority of…
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Photo Story: Ganz and Netanyahu meet at memorial service for late Israeli president Peres

Photo Story: Ganz and Netanyahu meet at memorial service for late Israeli president Peres

(L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Benny Gantz, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance attend a memorial service for late Israeli president Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, Israel's national cemetery, in Jerusalem, 19 September 2019. Peres died on September 28, 2016, Sheba Medical Centre, Ramat Gan, Israel. Ganz and Netanyahu are to meet later in the day to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition government after an inconclusive general election  this week.   Photos:  EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN
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Benjamin Netanyahu calls for unity government

Benjamin Netanyahu calls for unity government

Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his main political rival, Benny Gantz, to form a unity government with him. The Israeli prime minister made the offer after a second general election failed to produce a clear winner. Netanyahu and his allies failed to garner a majority of seats in Israel's legislature, as Israelis went to the ballot boxes for the second time in a year on Tuesday following an inconclusive election in April. In a video message, Netanyahu conceded there was no way he would be able to form a right-wing government after a second general election this week ended in deadlock.…
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Call for Israel unity government as election too close to call

Call for Israel unity government as election too close to call

A national unity government has been called for in Israel after exit polls provided no clear winner in the country's second general election of 2019. The centrist Blue and White alliance of former military chief Benny Gantz is projected to win between 32 and 34 seats, and PM Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party 30 to 33 seats. Leading politician Avigdor Lieberman has put himself forward as a kingmaker by making the call for current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party to join with the Blue and White party and his own Israel Beitenu party to form a government. Avigdor Lieberman,…
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Israel election underway

Israel election underway

Israelis have begun voting in the country’s second election this year, following a campaign dominated by Benjamin Netanyahu and his vows to implement a far-right, ultranationalist agenda in exchange for a record fifth term as leader. Voting opened at 7am local time (04:00 GMT) at 11,163 polling stations, with thirty-one parties competing for the 120 seats.  Al Jazeera reports "It is the first time in Israel's history that two elections have been held in the same year, after Netanyahu failed to form a government following an election on April 9. The Guardian reports : "Facing the prospect of criminal corruption…
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Netanyahu’s Facebook page suspended

Netanyahu’s Facebook page suspended

Facebook has sanctioned Benjamin Netanyahu’s official page, after a post called on voters to oppose a government composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all – women, children and men.” Facebook said the post violated its hate speech policy. Facebook consequently disabled the page’s automatic chat function for 24 hours. The Israeli prime minister has denied writing the post and suggested that a staffer’s mistake was responsible. The right-wing president is campaigning to retain his office in an election next week. Via The Independent
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Arab nations condemn Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plan

Arab nations condemn Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plan

Arab nations have condemned a plan by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to annex part of the occupied West Bank. On Tuesday 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. Arab foreign ministers had been holding a meeting in Cairo, seat of the Arab League, but added an emergency session after Netanyahu made his comments on live television. The Arab League denounced "the dangerous development" as "aggression". Officials in Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia sharply criticised the announcement. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi…
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Netanyahu vows to annex Jordan Valley, West Bank settlements if elected

Netanyahu vows to annex Jordan Valley, West Bank settlements if elected

In an electoral campaign pitch, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to “apply Israeli sovereignty” — effectively annexing — to all the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He added he’ll only take the step “after the elections,” out of respect for the Trump administration and its expected peace plan. “I want from you a clear mandate to apply Israeli sovereignty to all the settlements,” he says. Via Times of Israel 
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Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving leader

Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving leader

Benjamin Netanyahu has become Israel's longest-serving prime minister, surpassing the record set by the country's founding father. Netanyahu has led for 4,876 - one day more than Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion. He secured his fifth term earlier this year but has called fresh elections after failing to form a government. Netanyahu is currently facing a series of possible corruption charges and calls for him to resign.   Via The Jerusalem Post
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Israeli PM Netanyahu will seek Cabinet approval to build a new settlement on the Golan Heights

Israeli PM Netanyahu will seek Cabinet approval to build a new settlement on the Golan Heights

A new community planned for the Golan Heights in honor of US President Donald Trump will be named Ramat Trump, literally translatable as “Trump Heights,” and will be approved at the next cabinet meeting on Sunday, The Times of Israel reports. The cabinet secretary on Thursday sent to ministers details of the cabinet resolution for approving Ramat Trump, stating that the community will be located close to the existing village of Kela Alon and will be under the jurisdiction of the Golan Regional Council. “In recognition of the work of the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump,…
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Israel heads to new elections in September

Israel heads to new elections in September

Israeli lawmakers have voted in favor of dissolving parliament following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's failure to form a coalition government. The move comes after weeks of difficult negotiations. The Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, voted 74-45 in favor of dissolving itself and setting elections for September 17. Netanyahu appeared to have secured a record fifth term as prime minister after his Likud party won 35 of the Knesset's 120 seats in Israel's April 9 election. However, he failed to establish a parliamentary majority after weeks of difficult negotiations with far-right groups. At the heart of the impasse was a military conscription bill…
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Crucial deadline looms for Netanyahu’s bid to form government

Crucial deadline looms for Netanyahu’s bid to form government

On a day of extraordinary political theater in Israel, as the Knesset at noon Wednesday began debating a bill to dissolve itself a mere month after it was sworn in, the following 12 hours appeared to present three possible outcomes: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu solves his government-building crisis and manages to sign up a 65-strong coalition; Netanyahu runs out of time, cannot form a coalition, and the Knesset votes for dissolution and new elections in September; Netanyahu fails to form a coalition, the Knesset does not vote for dissolution, and instead President Reuven Rivlin restarts the process of identifying the…
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Israel moving closer to hold a new general election as coalition talks stall

Israel moving closer to hold a new general election as coalition talks stall

Israel has moved closer to holding a new general election despite a national vote last month, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to form a coalition government ahead of a Wednesday deadline. Legislators on Monday night moved one step closer towards dissolving the 21st Knesset less than a month since it was sworn in, with MKs approving in its first reading a bill to disband the legislature amid a coalition-building crisis. Sixty-four MKs voted for the motion, with 44 voting against and one abstaining. The parliament on Monday passed a preliminary motion to dissolve itself. If the bill gets final…
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Netanyahu struggles to form new government

Netanyahu struggles to form new government

By Benjamin Netanyahu own admission, he started "final effort" to break a deadlock on forming a governing coalition ahead of a Wednesday deadline for a deal. Netanyahu has unexpectedly struggled to seal an agreement with a clutch of right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that would align with his Likud party and ensure him a fifth term following Israel's April 9 election. Divisions between former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman's ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party and United Torah Judaism over a military conscription bill governing exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students have plunged the coalition talks into stalemate. Divisions between former Defence…
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Turkey condemns Netanyahu’s plan to change West Bank status

Turkey condemns Netanyahu’s plan to change West Bank status

Turkey on Sunday criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "irresponsible" for saying he would annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins Tuesday's election. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war, was Palestinian territory and Israel's occupation violated international law. Netanyahu, asked why he had not declared Israeli sovereignty over large West Bank settlements as Israel has already done in the occupied Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, said he was already discussing the move. "I am going to extend (Israeli) sovereignty and I don't distinguish…
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