The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, won an important political victory December 26, defeating an intra-party rival to remain the head of the Likud Party, as that Party and its rivals prepare for a general election in March 2020. The rival, Gideon Saar, played up Netanyahu’s legal troubles, but the party rank and file seem largely to agree with the PM that those troubles are the result of a vicious leftist plot.
Netanyahu is under indictment on charges of breach of trust, bribery, and fraud.
The question of who will form the next national government, and what kind of coalition it will involve, is very much up in the air. A general election in September produced a muddled result, with the Blue and White Party winning one more parliamentary (Knesset) seat than the Likud (33 and 32 seats respectively). But the Knesset has 120 seats, so clearly neither leading party is even close to a majority. Neither has been able to form a majority coalition of late either.
The Thing to Know:
Though at this writing the exact numbers on Netanyahu’s victory over Saar are not certain, it is clear that the vote was a landslide, with more than 70% of Likud supporting Netanyahu’s continued leadership.