Benjamin Netanyahu's bad day
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a very bad political day.
Driving the news: Less than 50 days before Israel's third elections in a year, three new political developments will make his efforts to get re-elected much harder.
1. The three corruption indictments against Netanyahu are a defining factor in the election, particularly now that he is seeking parliamentary immunity.
- In order to buy time, Netanyahu has attempted to stall the formation of the committee that will consider that immunity request.
- But the opposition — led by Benny Gantz and the Blue and White party — today managed to get a majority to vote to approve the committee.
- Members from Netanyahu's Likud Party were shocked to find themselves in the minority for the first time in 11 years.
- What to watch: Blue and White’s goal is to strip Netanyahu of immunity within weeks so that his trial might start before the March 2 elections.
2. On the left...
- Two left-wing parties, Labor and Meretz, announced today that they will join forces for the election, running on one list.
- Why it matters: Both parties were in danger of falling below the electoral threshold, potentially shrinking Gantz's center-left bloc and making it harder for him to replace Netanyahu.
3. On the right...
- The two parties to the right of Likud, the New Right and Jewish Home, announced today they will not run together on one list.
- Why it matters: Those parties are also in danger of falling short of the threshold, and if either does that would be a big blow to Netanyahu's right-wing bloc.