Main challengers to Netanyahu announce alliance for Israeli polls

Main challengers to Netanyahu announce alliance for Israeli polls

Main challengers to Netanyahu announce alliance for Israeli polls

Retired military chief Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, will enter the April 9 elections on a combined ticket in an agreement that would have them rotate as Prime Minister.

Recent polls project Likud winning about 30 of parliament's 120 seats, while the prospects for Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit remained unclear prior to their decision to merge in the upcoming election, a move meant to decrease the chances that Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit would fail to garner enough votes to meet the minimum threshold for entering the Knesset.

Among the prominent figures in the joint Jewish Home-Jewish Power list are Bezalel Smotrich, a self-avowed "proud homophobe", Itamar Ben Gvir, an attorney who has made a career defending radical Israeli settlers implicated in West Bank violence, and Benzi Gopstein, leader of an extremist anti-assimilation group whose Twitter handle translates to "Kahane was right".

But the surveys also predicted a much tighter race and a possible upset should Gantz, 59, and Lapid, 55, team up and then form a centrist and left-wing parliamentary bloc larger than a Likud-led alliance.

The late American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane's Jewish Defence League is considered a terrorist organization by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Leaders of Jewish Power have portrayed themselves as successors of the US-born Kahane, who served one term in the Knesset in the 1980s as head of the Kach party. He added that bringing in the Kahanists will be "a gift greater than gold to Israel-haters" and deepen the rift between American Jews and Israel. Netanyahu is willing to "trample" the national interest for a small gain, Yemini wrote.

Jussie Smollett turns himself in to cops after allegedly staging hate crime
Police said there had been a "significant shift in the trajectory" of the investigation after the brothers were freed on Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deleted a tweet that referred to the alleged attack as "an affront to our humanity".

Opinion polls have shown the two as the main challengers to Netanyahu, who has been expected to win despite corruption investigations into his affairs. His Israeli Resilience party said: "Netanyahu lost touch with his Zionism and with his dignity".

Gantz and Lapid met on Wednesday, with speculation high they could strike a deal.

The new party of power will present a new security and social leadership that will ensure the security of the State, and that will reconnect the parts of Israel's divided society.

They were also joined by former Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and ex-military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Moshe "Bogey" Yaalon, a former army chief and defense minister, joined Gantz last month.

While Gantz and Lapid worked out their deal, Netanyahu helped negotiate the merger of two far-right parties, Jewish Home and Jewish Power, that could give followers of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane, a stronger voice in politics.

Even if the joint list surpasses Likud at the ballot box, it is not guaranteed to form the next government unless it can garner a parliamentary majority by forming a collation with other parties. In a statement following his alliance with Lapid it said: "The choice is clear". "Either Lapid-Ganz's left-wing government with the support of a block of Arab parties, or a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu".

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