JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief rival was chosen on Thursday as the new speaker of parliament, an unexpected step that could pave the way to a power-sharing deal between the two men as the country grapples with a worsening coronavirus crisis.

The sudden turnabout by Benny Gantz, who has spent the past year trying to topple Netanyahu in three inconclusive elections, appeared to give the embattled prime minister a new lease on life as he prepares to go on trial for corruption charges. It also drew angry criticism from his political partners and looked likely to rip apart his Blue and White party, an alliance of thee-anti-Netanyahu factions.

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