Netanyahu Rebuffs a Challenge From Within, Despite Graft Charges

The embattled Israeli prime minister staved off a Likud party leadership challenge, a victory that is likely to perpetuate Israel’s political deadlock.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel easily brushed off a challenge for the leadership of the conservative Likud party early Friday, a crucial victory for Israel’s longest-serving leader but one that may only harden the country’s yearlong political standoff.

For Mr. Netanyahu, the landslide in a party primary on Thursday reaffirmed his political prowess and staying power despite his indictment last month on corruption charges, and it gives a jolt of fresh energy to his campaign for Israel’s next general election in March.
But it also assures that one of Israel’s most polarizing issues will be on the ballot in that election: Mr. Netanyahu himself.

Israel has already had two inconclusive elections this year, each ending in deadlock with voters nearly evenly divided on whether the corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu should disqualify him from serving a fourth consecutive term.


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