Israel’s Zionist Union opposition bloc falls apart live on television
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Israel’s Zionist Union opposition bloc falls apart live on television

In a shock announcement that caught Livini off guard at a televised Zionist Union meeting, Avi Gabbay’s Labor Party questioned the Hatnua leader’s loyalty and said he was ending his partnership with her. “I still believe in partnership, in connections, in uniting a large camp committed to change, but successful connections necessitate friendship, upholding agreements, and commitment to a course,” he said. “That didn't happen in this partnership.” Lost for words, Livni approached the podium immediately afterwards and only said she would take time to reflect on his announcement before responding. Later, she rejected Gabbay’s disloyalty claims, but said he “was right about one thing today -- it was never a real partnership between us, because he never wanted a partnership.” “The way he ended it today is proof,” Livni said. Before falling apart, the Zionist Union was the second-biggest faction at the parliament. It won 24 out of 120 seats in 2015, behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, which won 30. Indictment decision awaits Netanyahu The polls had originally been scheduled for November. Likud called the polls last Monday in a move, which experts say, is aimed at giving a fresh mandate to Netanyahu to help him survive an ongoing corruption drama. Netanyahu faces three corruption cases revolving, among other things, around charges of his accepting gifts from businessmen overseas and a media bribery scheme. The premier, who always denies having committed any corrupt practices, claims he is convinced that the three cases against him will yield “nothing.” On Monday, he also said he will not step down even if the regime’s attorney general sought to indict him for corruption. On Tuesday, Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit’s spokesman told Israel’s Channel 2 that he will publicize his decision to indict the premier before the upcoming elections. He cited Mandelblit as saying “it was an obligation to decide” prior to the elections, so that voters would be fully aware of possible charges before going to voting booths.

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