Main rival Benny Gantz tells voters the prime minister is ‘not an irreplaceable legend’

Israelis have begun voting in a tight election race viewed as a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu, who hopes to extend his decade-long stretch in power to become the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

Tainted by three separate corruption cases that he denies and will have to fight if he wins, the 69-year-old energised his ultranationalist rightwing base in recent days, vowing to envelop Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and end dreams of a Palestinian state for good.

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