Report

New Polls Show Netanyahu Losing Ground in Israeli Election

The center-left Zionist Union has opened up a slim lead against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party in the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 17, according to new polls. The two parties had been virtually tied for weeks, but a new survey by Israel’s army radio found the Zionist Union winning 24 seats, to ...

likud

The center-left Zionist Union has opened up a slim lead against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party in the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 17, according to new polls. The two parties had been virtually tied for weeks, but a new survey by Israel’s army radio found the Zionist Union winning 24 seats, to Likud’s 21. A poll by Channel 2 television, meanwhile, had the Zionist Union winning 25 seats, and Likud winning 21.

There are 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset, and either faction will need to form a coalition with other parties in order to govern. Netanyahu still might have an advantage over his rivals in doing so: Several far-right parties, which would be his natural allies, are expected to capture a significant number of seats. The “swing vote” in the election could be the center-right Kulanu Party headed by Moshe Kahlon, who has not yet indicated which bloc he would support.

Leak Investigation Could Reveal U.S.-Israeli Covert Operation

A leak investigation targeting retired Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright has stalled due to fears that a prosecution could reveal classified information about joint U.S.-Israeli efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. Investigators suspect that Cartwright leaked details of the operation, which used the computer worm Stuxnet to destroy Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, to New York Times reporter David Sanger. However, prosecution could force the government to confirm details of the operation in open court, potentially putting it at odds with the Israeli government, if Israeli officials were opposed to having their role revealed. U.S. officials also fear that it could undermine negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program at a sensitive time.

Headlines

  • The Islamic State launched a major assault on the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain.
  • A statement from the U.S. military said that forces backed by the anti-Islamic State coalition had cut critical supply and communication lines for the jihadist group in northern Syria.
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari dismissed Saudi concerns that Iran was taking control of Iraq.
  • The Islamic State has seized the center of the Libyan city of Sirte, exploiting the chaos in Libya to expand its control.
  • Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militias captured large parts of the city of Tikrit from the Islamic State.

-David Kenner

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

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