Israel's 'magician' Netanyahu faces final curtain after record run | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Israel's 'magician' Netanyahu faces final curtain after record run

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Long the familiar face of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has held on as prime minister for more than a decade, clinging to power through a criminal indictment and four elections in the past two years alone.

Now, the question is whether the 71-year-old Netanyahu, dubbed "the magician" by his admirers, has any cards left up his sleeve.

After years in which he exerted near-complete hegemony over Israeli politics, an emerging broad coalition of opponents could be about to unseat him.

"Fraud of the century," an indignant Netanyahu declared on Sunday, after fellow right-winger Naftali Bennett turned against him and opted to align with centrist opposition chief Yair Lapid despite a public promise that he wouldn't.

And while Netanyahu's Likud party has remained unflinchingly loyal to him, Gideon Saar, a disillusioned Likud defector, is in line to join the new government-in-making as head of his own New Horizon party.

Israeli political commentators said the political knives have been out for a while for Netanyahu, the country's longest-serving leader.

A sense that he was living on borrowed time after 12 consecutive years in office was compounded by a corruption trial now under way.

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