To thwart ‘dangerous anti-Zionist’ coalition, Netanyahu aligns with right-wing, religious parties

Israel’s prime minister says he will seek to lead a ruling coalition with religious and right-wing allies, despite falling short of a parliamentary majority in Tuesday’s elections

By Associated Press

Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday at a Likud party meeting in Jerusalem that he opposes any government that “leans on the anti-Zionist Arab parties,” and said he would make “every effort to prevent a dangerous government like this.”

Neither Netanyahu’s Likud party nor its main rival — the Blue and White party headed by former military chief of staff Benny Gantz — won enough votes to declare an outright victory.

Gantz’s centrist bloc, which could potentially include the Joint List of Arab parties, has a slight edge over Netanyahu and his longtime haredi and religious nationalist allies.

Meanwhile, an official in Netanyahu’s office says the Israeli leader will not be attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly in New York, an event he ordinarily uses to advance Israeli interests on the world stage.

The trip’s cancellation comes just hours after Israel’s national elections.

The official said Wednesday that the planned visit to the U.S. next week, where he was also to meet with President Donald Trump, would not take place. There was no word whether the meeting would be rescheduled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement.