Stories

Benjamin Netanyahu's bad day

Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper: Gantz says release of U.S. peace plan before Israel's elections would be "interference"