Wednesday 23 October 2019

Netanyahu tries to woo far-right on election eve


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Reuters

Jeffrey Heller

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up his bid for far-right votes two days before a closely contested election, convening his cabinet in the occupied West Bank and having it approve legal status for an unauthorised outpost.

Mr Netanyahu's caretaker government met yesterday in the Jordan Valley, a largely agricultural area which he announced last week he intended to annex if he won a fifth term. Israeli cabinets have rarely held sessions in the West Bank.

At the meeting the government announced it had approved Mr Netanyahu's proposal to turn the outpost of Mevo'ot Yericho into a formal settlement - 20 years after it was established as a farming community in the Jordan Valley without state sanction.

Mr Netanyahu said it would be up to the government formed after tomorrow's election to grant final approval.

The timing of the cabinet's move was widely seen in Israel as another bid by Mr Netanyahu to swing support from small ultra-nationalist parties to his right-wing Likud in an election that follows an inconclusive poll in April.

Opinion polls show Likud and its main challenger, the centrist Blue and White Party, running neck and neck.

Irish Independent

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