Nov 23, 2019

After indictments, Netanyahu faces opposition from within his own party

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a meeting on Nov. 20 in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo: Amir Levy / Stringer

Two days after the attorney general's decision to indict him for bribe, fraud and breach of trust, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces growing opposition from within his own Likud party.

Driving the news: Gideon Sa'ar — a former minister and a popular member of Knesset from Likud — called Netanyahu on Saturday and requested snap primaries for the party chairmanship.

Why it matters: This is the most significant challenge against Netanyahu from within his own party in the last decade. Since becoming prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu has crushed dissent and has used party procedures to prevent real primaries for the chairmanship since 2014.

What they're saying: Sa'ar went all out against Netanyahu in an interview he gave to Channel 12 on Saturday, saying the prime minister is unable to form a government due to the indictments against him and stressing the Likud could lose if Israel goes for a third election.

  • Sa'ar called for snap primaries in the Likud within two weeks to try to form a government before a third election is called.
  • He added that he plans to run against Netanyahu if such primaries are held.

He also criticized Netanyahu's attacks on the police and the attorney general and rejected Netanyahu's claim that the indictments against him are an attempted coup.

"It is untrue and irresponsible to talk about a coup and it creates anarchy in the country and I am against that."
— Gideon Sa'ar

At the same time, the leader of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz held a press conference and tried to encourage dissent within Netanyahu's party. Gantz called on senior Likud members to speak out against Netanyahu and said he is ready to try to form a unity government with other Likud leaders, but without Netanyahu.

What's next: Sa'ar's challenge to Netanyahu is an important development, but it is unclear whether it could lead to a rebellion. Most other senior Likud members have remained silent and are not joining Sa'ar's criticism.

  • Netanyahu still has a lot of power in his party and even if primaries are held, he still has the best chance of winning.

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Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports and images shared to social media.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 350,000 globally on Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

By the numbers: More than 5.9 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.2 million have recovered from the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 5,594,175 — Total deaths: 350,531 — Total recoveries — 2,288,579Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy