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Israel braces for political fight after Netanyahu indictment

The indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to sharpen the battle lines in Israel’s already deadlocked political system and could test the loyalty of his right-wing allies.

It appears to have dashed any remaining hopes for a unity government following September’s elections, paving the way for an unprecedented third vote in less than a year.

In a column Friday in Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Amit Segal says the election will be “a civil war without arms.” Writing in the same newspaper, Sima Kadmon compared Netanyahu to the Roman emperor Nero, saying “he will stand and watch as the country burns.”

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gather outside his residence in Jerusalem, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Israel's attorney general charged Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different scandals. It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime. (AP PhotoAriel Schalit)

The corruption charges will weigh heavily on Netanyahu’s Likud party, but it’s unclear if any senior member has the support, or willingness, to replace him.

Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gather outside his residence in Jerusalem, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Israel's attorney general charged Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different scandals. It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime. (AP PhotoAriel Schalit)