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Israelis to Decide if Netanyahu Will Stay or Go in Upcoming Election – Here’s What We Know

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Israeli voters are just a week away from an election that will decide the political fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Depending on which poll you believe, Netanayhu's party is running a little ahead of, or a little behind the new "Blue and White" party.  It's a coalition led by political newcomer Benny Gantz, former chief of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

In fact, the Blue and White Party is a collection of notable military and secular leaders.  Many of them served with Netanyahu but now are his bitter rivals.  They see the pending indictment of the Prime Minister as an opportunity to replace him.

Israel's attorney general announced his intention to indict Netanyahu just weeks before the election. Since then, Likud has risen in the polls.

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein is Likud's second in command. He often fields media questions about the pending indictment at press events.

“I do have to remind us that indictment happens in court.  And before that you know, according to a very old rule, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that's the situation of the prime minister right now,” Edelstein told press.

Pollster Mitchell Barak says even a week before the vote, it doesn't feel like the campaign has started.

“You know, there's been a lot of mudslinging back and forth, but if you walk around Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or anywhere else, you don't see signs on people's balconies, you don't see signs in their window,” Barak told CBN News.

Netanyahu has reaped the benefits of his close relationship with US President Donald Trump and the visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Israel.

Barak recently took an in-depth survey of Israelis and found their support for Trump has skyrocketed to 73 percent.  He's fulfilled a dream basket of Israeli wishes, from moving the US Embassy, to recognizing the Golan is part of Israel, to cracking down on Iran and Palestinian terrorists. The poll was commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Israel. 

“So Israelis, to a certain extent, see that there's a Likudnik, you know a Likud person, in the White House, and they see that Netanyahu is very, very close to President Trump,” said Barak.

Israelis will decide April 9th whether those close US ties will be enough to put Netanyahu over the top.  Experts say many, if not most voters won't even decide until the final four days.

CBN News Mideast Correspondent Chris Mitchell appeared on The 700 Club Tuesday to discuss the upcoming election in Israel. Click the player below to watch.

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About The Author


John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN New since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.