Next month’s poll is a referendum on a prime minister who has triumphed by fuelling divisions

Israel is not a state of all its citizens, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu declared on Sunday. His words should be shocking, but in truth they made explicit the message of last year’s nation state law, rendering Palestinians in Israel second-class citizens. They would be shameful if he were capable of shame. Mr Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election in the face of a bribery and fraud indictment shows he is not. He has prospered by fostering division.

This latest act of cynical bigotry is simply par for the course. The same is true of Mr Netanyahu’s awful turn to the far-right party for support. Mr Netanyahu orchestrated the merger of the racist anti-Arab Jewish Power and the pro-settler Jewish Home parties to help them pass the electoral threshold and him put together a coalition. Jewish Power includes followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was outlawed in Israel and is designated by the US and EU as a terror organisation.

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Read More The Guardian view on the Israeli elections: Netanyahu debases his office – again | Editorial

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