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With Word of Indictment for Netanyahu, Rivals Remove Gloves

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is facing a challenge within his Likud party from a rival who has never made a secret of his leadership ambitions. Gideon Sa’ar is calling for a primary race to choose a new Likud chief after the country’s attorney-general announced late last week that he would indict Netanyahu for alleged bribery, fraud and breach of public trust in three separate criminal cases. All of this comes as the country faces a political stalemate, with neither Netanyahu nor his centrist opponent, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, unable to form a government after the neck-and-neck outcome of September’s election. Following the indictment announcement, Gantz reiterated an offer for a unity government in which Netanyahu would rotate into the prime minister’s seat only after two years, an idea the latter rejected during coalition talks. Perhaps to stir things up inside the Likud, word also came that Gantz might let the leader of that party serve first – but only if it’s not Netanyahu.