Israel

In a setback for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's president said Sunday he will give centrist retired army general Benny Gantz the first chance to try to form a new government following this month's inconclusive elections.

Gantz was tapped after a majority of 61 lawmakers in the 120-member Parliament told President Reuven Rivlin they support Gantz over Netanyahu. A coalition of Arab parties, including a staunchly Palestinian nationalist faction, decisively helped tip the scales by unanimously endorsing Gantz.

Updated on March 4 at 1 p.m. ET

Benjamin Netanyahu, fighting to hang on as prime minister, rebounded in Monday's election, but it is unclear he will have the parliamentary majority he needs to win a new term. Can the "King of Israel" — as his diehard supporters like to chant — find a way to extend his reign?

His veritable throne has been wobbling in the past year. Bribery allegations led to an indictment. Onetime allies turned against him, mounting the strongest challenge yet to his political survival. Election after election ended in stalemate.

President Trump's Mideast peace plan was expected to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instantly fulfill a campaign promise to annex occupied land that Israelis and Palestinians have fought over for more than half a century.

But it didn't go as Netanyahu had hoped.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump says his long-awaited Mideast peace plan unveiled Tuesday is a road map for a "realistic two-state solution" that envisions Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that he will seek immunity from prosecution in corruption charges he's facing.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Israel's attorney general has decided to file charges against longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three corruption cases, according to a statement Thursday from the country's Justice Ministry. Israel has been mired in political uncertainty for months as it awaited the decision.

Netanyahu is Israel's first sitting prime minister to be indicted. He has long denied the allegations, saying they are politically motivated.

Updated at 9:02 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday the Trump administration's latest pro-Israel change in U.S. policy, saying the State Department is rescinding a 1978 department legal opinion that viewed settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as inconsistent with international law.

WhiteHouse.gov

COMMENTARY

If you’re Hispanic and still need to be convinced your vote can actually swing a general election, I could point you to Florida or Nevada or Ohio.

But I think Israel is a more convincing place for you to look to right now.

Israel's second election in less than six months looks unlikely to clear up its political impasse, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again falling short of a majority in parliament and forced to scramble for allies to retain power.

Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party is projected to win 30 to 33 seats in the 120-member Knesset, while the centrist Blue and White party led by former military chief Benny Gantz looked likely to get 32 to 34 seats.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, faces his toughest political battle for survival in years, as the country holds unprecedented repeat elections Tuesday.

This is the second time Israelis are going to the polls in less than six months. Netanyahu, 69, forced the do-over in a last-minute move, just weeks after April elections, because he secured a narrow win but failed to build a parliament majority.

At a news conference Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a controversial new campaign pledge: If reelected in next week's general election, the longtime Israeli prime minister said he plans to annex a significant chunk of the occupied West Bank.

"Today I announce my intention, upon forming the next government, to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea," Netanyahu told reporters in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, potentially staking out an official claim on roughly a third of the land in the West Bank.

Updated at 12:40 p.m. ET

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., says she's canceling her visit to Israel and the West Bank.

Israel's interior ministry announced Friday that it would allow Tlaib to enter the country as a private citizen to visit her aging grandmother, after it banned her and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from going on a political trip amid pressure from President Trump.

Total Cost For Gov. DeSantis, Florida Cabinet's Trip To Israel Released

Jul 15, 2019

By Ana Ceballos / News Service of Florida

More than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Cabinet members wrapped up a six-day trip in Israel, the price tag of the mostly privately funded trip was revealed on Friday. 

ABACA PRESS/MCT

Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest is reverberating in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party are calling for a criminal probe into former prime minister Ehud Barak’s personal and business ties with the accused sex trafficker, Israeli media is reporting.

Jeffrey Schweers / Florida Society of News Editors

When Florida Cabinet members jetted off to Israel in late May, some state employees who traveled at taxpayer expense stayed in a more than $400-a-night luxury hotel in Jerusalem, where a Cabinet meeting was held.

More than a month after the trade mission ended, the full cost of the trip, proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is not clear.

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