Israel elections: Benjamin Netanyahu's agenda and settlement issue

The Tuesday's poll will to a large degree amount to a referendum on Israel's longest-serving PM Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Referendum on longest-serving PM

Israel will hold general elections on Tuesday, its second vote this year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government following the April 9 poll. 

The Tuesday's poll will to a large degree amount to a referendum on Netanyahu.


Attempt to overcome biggest failure

Netanyahu, prime minister for a total of more than 13 years, is seeking to overcome one of the biggest failures of his political career following April elections.

In those polls, Likud along with its right-wing and religious allies won a majority of seats, but he failed to form a coalition government and opted for a second election as a result.

Opinion polls show results are likely to again be close.


Netanyahu's campaign

He has campaigned with a combination of divisive populism and attempts to portray himself as a world statesman by talking up his relationships with foreign leaders, including US President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Neck-and-neck race with Blue and White party

Netanyahu's Likud party is running neck-and-neck with the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who has focused heavily on looming corruption charges Netanyahu faces.

But Netanyahu's political fate could ultimately end up in the hands of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu headed by former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a potential kingmaker in the coalition-building certain to follow the vote.



The premier's controversial pledge to annex one-third of the occupied West Bank if he wins and his brief escort off stage at a rally due to rocket fire from Gaza have been among the issues dominating the campaign's final days.

His rival Gantz has talked up his security experience and sought to portray himself as someone who can restore dignity to the premier's office, a reference to the corruption cases against his opponent.


Israel policy: Settlements issue

On Sunday, the Netanyahu's government agreed to turn the wildcat settlement of Mevoot Yericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement, the premier's office said.

The latest approval follows Netanyahu's pledge last week to annex the Jordan Valley, which amounts to one-third of the West Bank, if he wins Tuesday's elections.

All settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.


'Sky is the limit': India-Israel ties

India and Israel have always been steady partners. The two countries have an extensive economic, military, and strategic relationship.

Ties between India and Israel have been growing in the past few years with a number of high-level visits between both countries. 

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in July 2017, the first visit by an Indian PM to the country. It was followed by a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India in January 2018.

In 2014, Prime Minister Netanyahu, after meeting Modi at the UN, said that "sky is the limit" as far as India-Israel relations are concerned.


India-Israel defence ties

India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia.

From 1999 to 2009, the military business between the two nations was worth around $9 billion. Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to intelligence sharing on terrorist groups and joint military training.

In March, Israel on Friday said that it will back its "precious friend" India in its fight against terrorism by transfer of technology and crucial know-how.

India has also used Israeli developed SPICE 2000 bombs during its counter-terror operations in Balakot, Pakistan to eliminate Jaish-e-Mohammed camps.

In July this year, state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries signed a $50 million follow-up contract to provide complementary missile systems to the Indian navy and India’s MDL Shipyard.

(With text from agencies)


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