In a late-night session yesterday, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted to hold an unprecedented second election within a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure the support of a former ally, ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, for his right-wing coalition ahead of a constitutional deadline. By dissolving the Knesset, Netanyahu prevented President Reuven Rivlin from offering a chance to the opposition, led by the Blue and White Party, to form a government instead. But the move also plunges Israel into chaotic, uncharted territory at a time when the U.S. is hoping to take a fresh stab at a Middle East peace deal. The elections — Israel’s first-ever as a result of a prime minister’s failure to form a government — are now scheduled for Sept. 17, and Netanyahu will hold the post until then.

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