PM Benjamin Netanyahu Faces Tough Israeli Election

VOA FILE – People walk by election campaign billboards showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, alongside the Blue and White party leaders, from left to right, Moshe Yaalon, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Gabi Ashkenazi, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 3, 2019.

Israelis are voting Tuesday in parliamentary elections with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decade-long hold on power at stake as he faces a tough contest with former military chief Benny Gantz.

Ahead of the voting, polls indicated Netanyahu’s Likud party and Gantz’s Blue and White winning a similar number of seats in the 120-member Knesset. If that occurs, the 69-year-old Netanyahu might be poised to win a fifth term in a coalition with smaller right-wing parties allied to him.

As the months-long campaign neared an end, Netanyahu again reminded voters of his close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump. He thanked the U.S. leader — “my dear friend” — for responding Monday to a “request of mine” to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

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