Security upped for Israel election challenger Gantz after threats

The Israeli parliament has strengthened the security detail for Benny Gantz, the main electoral challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after it deemed various death threats against Gantz to be credible.

The threats came in the wake of last week’s volatile and inconclusive election, in which Netanyahu was unable to capture the parliamentary majority needed to form a government.

Netanyahu’s Likud emerged as the biggest party with 36 seats, against 33 for Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance.

But the Netanyahu-led bloc won a combined 58 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, three short of a majority. Gantz’s bloc won 55.

Netanyahu had been desperate for a strong showing in advance of his trial on corruption charges, scheduled to start on March 17.

The Israeli prime minister was indicted last year on fraud, bribery and breach of trust charges in three separate corruption cases.

He denies wrongdoing, saying the charges have been trumped up by a liberal media and a justice system looking to depose him.

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