Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prevailed in a closely contested election. His fourth consecutive election victory — his fifth in total — is a historic accomplishment. The win signals continuity in the government in Tel Aviv, which bodes ill for peace prospects. Netanyahu, along with Israeli politics, has drifted steadily to the right since he returned to power a decade ago and his increasingly hard line has reduced opportunities to find common ground with Palestinians.
This week’s election was a hard-fought battle. Every ruling party faces challenges after a decade in power — voter fatigue is almost inescapable — but Netanyahu’s future has been clouded by allegations of corruption, charges he denies. The prospect of being indicted elevated the stakes for the prime minister. As long as he remains in power, Netanyahu has leverage in talks with coalition partners — although his need for protection also empowers other parties as they try to forge a government.
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