After Monday’s parliamentary election in Israel, the third in less than a year, the country faced a familiar reality. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party appeared to remain at the helm after yet another close contest. Although the votes are not all yet counted, Likud is projected to win 36 seats, ahead of the rival centrist Blue and White party’s 32 seats. But even with the backing of a coalition of hard-right and religious parties, Netanyahu may still be a seat or two away from an outright majority. If so, days or weeks of political horse-trading will follow.
Securing a stable mandate is only Netanyahu’s most immediate challenge. His long-awaited trial on corruption charges starts later this month — a first for a sitting Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu can take heart that the specter of his indictments was not enough to dissuade an apparent plurality of voters from backing him. He ran a campaign in which he attacked Israel’s Arab minority, bemoaned his enemies in the media and once more hailed his close bonds with President Trump, who has doled out one concession after the other to Netanyahu’s government. On Monday night, even though it was far from clear he would return to power, Netanyahu faced the nation and gave what was effectively a victory speech.
Read the full story and more in The Washington Post.