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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I srael’s next Knesset election must be held no later than November 5, 2019.Israel’s next Knesset election will probably be held much earlier than November 5, 2019.
Netanyahu has a host of rivals who could contest his leadership inside the Likud, such as Miri Regev or Gideon Saar, and faces competition from new parties that could lure away Likud voters. These include the man Bibi fired as defense minister — Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon. Boogie absorbed a hard slap to the face with the recent State Comptroller’s report criticizing his conduct of Operation Protective Shield. He sloughed it off, throwing his beret in the ring as head of a new party. Moshe Feiglin, a perennial thorn in Bibi’s side, also formed a new party two weeks ago, one that will insist on Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
And then there’s Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party, who are pushing Netanyahu on the sovereignty issue as well. If they bolt the coalition over this issue, Netanyahu loses his Knesset majority.
Both Shaked and Bennett are riding high now. Shaked’s recent success in ramming through the confirmations of three conservative judges among a group of four to replace four retiring leftist Supreme Court justices is testimony to her political acumen. She told the press last week that she might run for prime minister one day.
That “one day” might come sooner than we think. Would Naftali Bennett abdicate his position at the top of the ticket to make room for Shaked? If the polls tell him Jewish Home could win the next election with Shaked as party leader, he might do it, and console himself with the high-profile position of defense or foreign minister.
Or Bennett might even jump ship to the Likud. A poll taken at the end of January showed that the Likud under Bennett could win more seats than Yair Lapid. Bennett even remarked last week that he might consider merging his party with the Likud to stop Lapid.
One last option: Netanyahu himself, cleared of charges, calls a snap election, promoting himself as the only Israeli leader with the savvy, experience and the personality to get along famously with Trump, and beating all of his opponents to the draw. In Israel, where anything is possible politically, one can never say never.
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