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Trump Advocates Netanyahu in Upcoming Polls

Trump Advocates Netanyahu in Upcoming Polls

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 - 09:00
A giant election billboard of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Trump, with a slogan in Hebrew: "Netanyahu, in another league". (AFP)
Tel Aviv - Nazir Magally
US President Donald Trump took a step forward in voicing his support for Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu and his Likud party in upcoming elections.

The president posted on his official instagram page a photo of a Netanyahu electoral poster that depicts the two leaders.

The posters have been posted throughout Tel Aviv and show Trump and Netanyahu shaking hands.

The posters had sparked condemnation among Israeli circles because parties often refrain from employing their foreign ties in their electoral campaigns. They explain that such tactics violate democratic practices and pave the way for foreign meddling in local elections.

The opposition had even questioned whether the Likud had received authorization from the White House to use Trump’s image.

Trump’s posting of the photo, however, dashed this speculation, but still created uproar.

The development was interpreted as blatant meddling in favor of Netanyahu and the Likud at a time when the majority of politicians were seeking to oust him in the elections. The West has also grown tired of the Israeli premier and see him as a burden on international policies.

Local opinion polls paint a different picture, with Netanyahu enjoying the support of the majority of pollsters. His opponents could topple him only if they unite in a single electoral list.

A united coalition could be formed between the “There is a Future” party of Yair Lapid, Israel Resilience Party of former general Benny Gantz and a partnership with former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Should the three unite, they could garner 35 seats in parliament to Netanyahu’s 30.

Gantz has been making gains in recent opinion polls.

The prime minister is facing possible charges in three graft cases. He denies any wrongdoing and has called the investigations a witch-hunt.

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