A picture taken on February 3, 2019 in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv shows a giant election billboard of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump shaking hands. The writing on the billboard reads in Hebrew "Netanyahu, in another league". (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Six Weeks Until Israeli Election “Take 3”

Some call it “remarkable.” Others say it is “tragic.” But regardless of the characterization, very little appears to be distinguishing “Take 3” from either of the first two rounds, sparking early talk of a fourth round of balloting before a government is at last selected. Although the latest polls show the newbie “Blue and White” bloc two seats ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, in addition to a party winning the greatest number of seats in parliament it must also demonstrate that it can weave together a coalition of 61 or more seats. As simple as it sounds, this year’s unprecedented situation continues to blaze new ground for the nation that self-describes itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has held the post longer than anyone else, is going toe-to-toe with a challenger who has never held an elective office. What distinguishes Blue and White from previous challengers to Netanyahu is less of a gap on the issue of security and defense. The rival party’s’ candidate list begins with three of the top four names being those of former army chiefs-of-staff.

 

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