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ISRAEL - Aug. 11 - Netanyahu Backed For PM.

Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, calls on his followers to back former PM Netanyahu if he runs against his successor Barak in a future election. Yosef says in an interview in 'Maariv': "Without doubt we should vote for Netanyahu". Yosef drew headlines and angry criticism on Aug. 5-6, after a sermon in which he said the Nazi Holocaust was God's retribution against Jewish sinners and described Palestinians as evil-doers and snakes. (Netanyahu, who led the right-wing Likud party to victory in 1996 elections, has absented himself from the political scene since Labour Party chief Barak defeated him in 1999. Shas was a member of Netanyahu's coalition government. Since his defeat, Netanyahu has been accused by police investigators of taking bribes and failing to return state property after leaving office. Judicial officials are expected to say within weeks if they will charge Netanyahu, a decision that could determine whether he tries for a political comeback and challenges Ariel Sharon for the Likud leadership.) A poll in 'Maariv', on Aug. 11, shows Barak and Netanyahu closely competing if national elections were held now. The survey polled 570 people and found 41% would support Barak, an equal percentage would back Netanyahu and 18% were undecided. (Netanyahu set the scene for a return to the political spotlight by going on Israeli TV during the Camp David summit to express his concern that Barak was making many concessions to the Palestinians.)
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Title Annotation:Prime Minister
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Aug 12, 2000
Words:240
Previous Article:ISRAEL - Aug. 9 - Jail Term Delay For Shas Leader.
Next Article:MOROCCO - Aug. 11 - Cabinet Reshuffle Urged.
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