Millennium Post

Netanyahu’s fate on knife-edge as Israel heads to polls

Netanyahu’s fate on knife-edge as Israel heads to polls
65-year-old Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi, has been harping upon his ability to keep the Jewish state safe from outward dangers, mainly the Iranian nuclear threat, but is still trailing in opinion polls with the average citizen facing issues of rising costs of basic necessities.

The hawkish prime minister, who led a fragile five party coalition government in this third term after
winning polls in January 2013, called for early elections last year after his alliance splintered.

Netanyahu had about three years left in office when he called for early elections with a hope to secure a record fourth term and improve the tally of his right-wing Likud party. However, the recent opinion polls showed his party trailing the centrist Zionist Union by about four seats.

His main rival, 54-year-old Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog has been gaining in the opinion polls on a campaign that promises to repair ties with the Palestinians and the international community and also deal with middle class issues such as price rise.

Herzog has support of Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua Party, and former prime minister Ehud Barak, who is also a former defense minister. Barak joins a list of former leaders, especially those from the Labor party which is the larger half of the Zionist Union slate, who have endorsed Herzog.

The election results will assume significance given the high inflation, instability in the strategic region and Israel’s public image following Netanyahu’s challenge to US President Barack Obama over Iranian nuclear issue.

The Israeli Premier has been constantly at loggerheads with President Obama and his recent efforts to undermine the US leader by addressing the Congress without coordinating with the White House has widened the rift.

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