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Benjamin Netanyahu crushes challenger for party leadership in Israeli election


"This is a huge victory!"

Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a great victory in a primary election over a challenge to his leadership of the Likud party.

Challenger Gideon Sa'ar conceded the election and said that he would back Netanyahu and the party in the general election after poll results indicated a landslide for his rival.

"This is a huge victory!" responded Netanyahu. "Thank you Likud members for your trust, support and love."

Netanyahu was far ahead of Sa'ar in preliminary election counts, with 75 percent support compared to 25 percent for his opponent.

Sa'ar defended his decision to challenge Netanyahu in his concession statement.

"The contest was vital to the Likud and its democratic character," said Sa'ar. "My decision to run was right and necessary. Whoever isn't prepared to take a chance for the path he believes in, will never win."

Netanyahu was indicted on charges of fraud and bribery. He vehemently denies the allegations and says that he is the victim of a "witch hunt."

He will represent the Likud party in the general election on March 2, the third such elections in a year.

Here's more about the Israeli election:

Israeli PM Netanyahu faces internal challenge in Likud primary

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