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Netanyahu Attacks Unity Efforts by ‘Left-Wing’ Israeli Parties

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized efforts by political party leaders opposed to his policies on the peace process to unite or agree on a joint strategy ahead of Jan. 22 national elections.

“There’s no doubt that the left-wing parties will try to unite either before or right after the election, and they will have one goal, to bring down my government,” Netanyahu said in an interview on Israel Radio today.

Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu parliamentary election slate, which joins his party to the faction of former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, maintained its lead in a poll published Friday in the Jerusalem Post that showed it winning 32 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset. Netanyahu would win re-election with the support of other parties that have said they would back him for prime minister, according to the survey.

Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich, Hatenuah’s Tzipi Livni, and Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid have criticized Netanyahu’s handling of efforts to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. All three said in interviews they would meet to discuss ways of uniting to either block his return to the premiership or to join the next government as a united group in order to influence its policies. The three parties would together gain 37 seats according to the Jerusalem Post poll, well short of the 60 they would need to block Netanyahu from forming a coalition.

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