Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • French teenage girls held over Syria jihad plans

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Merkel in Kiev as aid convoy ‘returns to Russia’

    Read more

  • France will not be 'be pushed around' by Germany

    Read more

  • Suicide bomber targets Iraq intelligence HQ in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Video: Israel bombs kidnapping suspect’s home

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • Ebola prompts Philippines to recall UN troops in Liberia

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • US sued over ‘deportation mill’ in New Mexico

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels in face-to-face talks

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Ferguson

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • US job market yet to recover from recession, says Fed Chair

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Middle east

Netanyahu forms block with ultra-nationalists for January ballot

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-10-26

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday he had struck a deal with ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to unite their political parties, making the new bloc the clear favourites to win January’s elections.

Israel’s prime minister announced Thursday that he was joining forces with his hard-line foreign minister in upcoming elections, instantly creating a hawkish new bloc that now appears poised to lead the country.

The deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu makes the new ticket the clear front-runner in the January elections, giving the ultranationalist foreign minister, a staunch opponent of concessions to the Palestinians, a major say in any future peace efforts.

It also raises speculation that centrist opposition parties might now be compelled to unite as well.

“We are facing great challenges and this is the time to unite forces for the sake of Israel. Therefore Likud and Yisrael Beitenu will run together on the same ticket in the next elections,” Netanyahu said at a news conference.

“We are asking for a mandate from the public to lead Israel against security threats, above all preventing Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons and the struggle against terror,” he said.

Israelis vote for political parties, not individual candidates. The leader of the bloc with the most seats in the 120-member parliament usually serves as prime minister of a coalition government.

Likud has been leading in opinion polls, but the resurgent Labor Party has been making gains by criticizing the outgoing government’s record on economic and social issues.

Analysts suggested Netanyahu took Thursday’s step in order to head off the possibility of a broad centrist bloc led by Labor. Together with Yisrael Beitenu, Likud could control more than 40 parliamentary seats, based on recent polls, making it roughly twice as large as Labor.

But polls have suggested that even with a center-left alliance, Netanyahu’s bloc would still win.

Opposition lawmakers said the new alliance created an extremist party opposed to peace that would alienate many moderate voters. Labor’s leader, Shelly Yachimovich, urged her centrist rivals to rally behind her.

“I call on all the centrist forces in the Israeli political map to join with Labor ... to not let the Lieberman-Netanyahu government rule,” she said. Yachimovich called Netanyahu’s new coalition “racist” and called on “moderate voters on the right” to join Labor.

Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz of the Kadima party also called for the center party to unite, dubbing Netanyahu’s hawkish union “a wake-up call.” Israel Radio political analyst Hanan Kristal said Netanyahu’s move would guarantee victory for the new bloc in the upcoming election. He said Likud might lose some moderate voters but they would be few.

“The big question now is about Lieberman, now that he is Netanyahu’s number two,” Kristal said. “Will he be the defense minister or deputy prime minister? Or remain foreign minister?”

Lieberman, who once worked as a bar bouncer, immigrated to Israel in 1978 from Moldova in the former Soviet Union. He became a national figure in 1996 as a top aide to Netanyahu during his previous term as prime minister.

He later quit Netanyahu’s Likud party and was elected to parliament in 1999 as head of Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home), a secular hawkish party he established to represent the more than 1 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

His party has gained strength since then and was the third largest in the 2009 elections, drawing many votes from native Israelis as well as his traditional base.

Lieberman is known for inflammatory rhetoric that has at times agitated his partners in government. He has called for executing Israeli Arab lawmakers who met with leaders of the militant group Hamas.

More recently, Lieberman pushed a series of legislative proposals that critics said were anti-Arab, including a failed attempt to require Israelis to sign a loyalty oath or have their citizenship revoked.

He embarrassed Netanyahu in the past by expressing contrasting views to that of the government, including skepticism over the chances of reaching peace with the Palestinians.

Lieberman has called the Palestinian President an “obstacle to peace,” and urged his removal so that peace talks that collapsed in 2008 could be revived.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-26

  • SUDAN

    Sudan blames Israel for arms factory 'aerial attack'

    Read more

  • ISRAEL - USA

    US, Israel begin largest-ever joint military exercise

    Read more

  • ISRAEL - GAZA STRIP

    Israeli forces intercept pro-Palestinian boat bound for Gaza

    Read more

COMMENT(S)