Israeli PM’s challenger proposes unity government rotation

Benjamin Netanyahu

FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an extended faction meeting of the right-wing bloc members at the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Israel’s attorney general has formally charged Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, charging Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a witch hunt. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The chief challenger to Israel’s embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proposing to lead a unity government with Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Blue and White candidate Benny Gantz says Saturday he would head the government for two years and then Netanyahu would lead the following two years — if he is acquitted of corruption charges.

Gantz says it’s the “only way to avoid unnecessary elections that no one wants.”

It was Gantz’s first concrete offer to extract Israel from its political impasse since the country’s attorney general announced Thursday Netanyahu would be indicted.

Netanyahu currently heads a caretaker government after two inconclusive elections. Previous efforts at a power-sharing agreement between the two largest parties failed. Netanyahu has vowed to remain in office.

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