Israel Heads to Elections for the Third Time in a Year

This combination picture created on September 18, 2019 shows, Benny Gantz (R), leader and candidate of the Israel Resilience party that is part of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, waving to supporters in Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressesing …
DUNAND,MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Israelis will head to the polls for the third time in a year as the Knesset voted to dissolve itself Wednesday night after 11th hour attempts to form a government failed. 

Three hours before the midnight deadline, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video vowing to “win big” in the March 2 elections. He also accused the rival Blue and White party of “forcing elections” on the Israeli public by rejecting Netanyahu’s offers of a unity government with a rotating premiership.

“They want to hide the fact that they did everything possible to avoid the establishment of a broad national unity government that would annex the Jordan Valley, applying Israeli sovereignty over the communities in Judea and Samaria,” he said.

“They tried to do everything possible to form a minority government with terrorist supporters Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi and they failed too,” he added.

“There is only one thing to do and it is to win and win big — and that is what we will do,” Netanyahu concluded.

Blue and White hit back, telling Netanyahu in a statement to “save some lies for the campaign trail.”

Citing Likud sources, Channel 13 reported that Netanyahu said he will spend more time out campaigning in the field and less on online efforts than the last election race.

Earlier in the day, Likud announced that it would hold a primary for the party leadership on December 26, pitting the prime minister against his main challenger within the party, MK Gideon Sa’ar.

Culture Minister Miri Regev and Foreign Minister Israel Katz will manage Netanyahu’s primary campaign, while Yoav Kisch, who is one of two Likud MKs to publicly endorse Sa’ar, will manage Sa’ar’s.

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