Benjamin Netanyahu’s former ally nominates self for put up of Israel PM

Jerusalem, April 5

A former right-wing ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recommended himself as the next prime minister, deepening Israel’s political deadlock.

Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party nominated him to form the next government in consultations with Israel’s president on Monday.

Yamina had been in a position to serve as a kingmaker between the two major blocs of supporters and opponents of Netanyahu. But instead, it declined to take sides.

Yamina has just seven seats in parliament, making it a long shot to be able to form a governing coalition. Bennett is hoping he can become a consensus candidate who can bridge the deep divides.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumed Monday, with a key witness painting a picture of an image-obsessed Israeli leader forcing a prominent news site to flatter his family and smear his opponents.

The testimony came as Netanyahu’s chances of securing another term in office following last month’s parliamentary elections appeared to be dwindling in high-stakes political talks hosted by the country’s figurehead president just a few miles (kilometers) away.

Taken together, the court testimony and political consultations pointed to an increasingly uphill struggle for Netanyahu as he fights for his political life. In a post-election ritual, President Reuven Rivlin was consulting with the various parties elected to parliament before choosing a candidate to form a new government. With a majority of lawmakers opposed to giving Netanyahu another term, Rivlin could give the task to a different candidate, possibly as soon as Monday night. — PTI

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