The two main challengers to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an electoral alliance yesterday, posing a threat to the premier's long rule as he also faces potential corruption charges.
While polls have consistently shown Netanyahu is likely to win the April 9 election, the combined power of his two main challengers from the political centre will at minimum shake up the campaign.
Netanyahu has tacked further to the right as he faces the potential indictments and the challenge from the newly allied centrist politicians: Benny Gantz, a respected former armed forces chief of staff, and Yair Lapid.
He demonstrated that on Wednesday by brokering a deal which will raise the profile of an extreme-right party and potentially see it win seats in parliament, leading critics to say he was pandering to "racists".
Gantz and Lapid have seized on such moves and the corruption investigations to promote their alliance as one that can restore Israel's values.
They said they had agreed to unite "out of a sense of deep national responsibility."
Gantz and Lapid plan to rotate as prime minister should they win the election.