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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem June 28, 2015.

    ‘Not Fundamentally Different': Bibi to Win Election Despite Rivals Teaming Up

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    Despite two main rivals of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joining forces to block him from taking the election win in April, their efforts aren't likely to bear any fruit, Miko Peled, author of "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine," told Sputnik.

    "There's nothing centrist about them," Peled told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday. "They are as right-wing as you can get, but I think Netanyahu is going to defeat them quite easily."

    "They're not as intelligent as he is, they're not as politically savvy as he is, and they've got no accomplishments — no achievements. In the end, they're all going to be begging him for a job, as they always do," he added.

    ​Benny Gantz, a former army chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces, and Yair Lapid, a longtime rival of Netanyahu, announced on Thursday that they would be running on a joint ticket out of "national responsibility."

    "Today we are changing the face of Israel," Gantz said during a televised speech. "In the past decade something has gone wrong… Israel has lost its way."

    "The government has incited division [in Israeli society]; it's a government that divides and rules. We're here to say, ‘enough.' Instead of division, we want unity. Instead of extremism, we want dignity. Instead of fraction, we propose national reconciliation."

    Lapid, during his speech, stressed that the pair were running on a platform of unity and inclusiveness. "We are here with a proposal for the Israeli public: To be together. To stand united against incitement and division. To take us back to the values of unity and shared goals," he said.

    But it's not all love and peace, Peled told host Brian Becker.

    "They're not fundamentally different at all," the author said of Netanyahu and his newly-aligned rivals. "Benny Gantz himself kicked off his campaign with a video showing how much death and destruction was caused in Gaza, taking pride in horrific war crimes, in the killing of countless civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure… in the Gaza Strip."

    "He is taking pride in something that he was told to do by his boss, Netanyahu, because Netanyahu was the minister, and Gantz was a soldier," Peled explained. "Even the things he was taking pride in weren't things that he had any part in deciding upon… and that's the kind of small-minded politicians that these people are."

    According to Peled, Gantz and Lapid are "no match for Netanyahu, and they're certainly not any less right wing and any less extremist." He also noted that the only difference between the teamed up rivals and the partners that Netanyahu has aligned himself with is that "they don't look quite as menacing."

    Gantz and Lapid's televised announcement came just one day after Netanyahu aligned himself with the Jewish Home Party and the Jewish Power Party ahead of the upcoming Israeli election, which is due to take place on April 9.

    The Times of Israel reported that should Gantz and Lapid take the win, they would rotate serving as prime minister, with Gantz serving in the position for the first two and half years. During that time, Lapid would serve as a foreign minister.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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