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Netanyahu’s Last Stand

I suggest it’s premature to plan Netanyahu’s retirement party

Many political pundits spent the weekend writing Binyamin Netanyahu’s political obituary, following his failure — as opposition leader — to stop the government from passing the budget.

The pundits cite a slew of reasons. Opposition to Netanyahu within the Likud is mounting, not only from potential rivals for Bibi’s post as Likud party leader, but also from Likud and chareidi loyalists who now see that they also sank with Netanyahu’s ship.

Others contend Bibi seems to have lost interest in his job. Some note — and with this, I would agree — that even if the Likud won a new election, the same party leaders who refused to form a government with him last time will decline the honor next time as well.

Still, others contend that Bibi is under pressure to seek a plea bargain in the various corruption cases against him in the three months remaining before Avichai Mandelblit, the attorney general who indicted him leaves office.

Those who cite the latter reason are ones who eagerly hang on every word of testimony from the prosecution witnesses, but pay no attention to how they wilt under cross-examination from Bibi’s lawyers.

Aside from that, I suggest it’s premature to plan Netanyahu’s retirement party.

Netanyahu is a student of history. He takes seriously the comparisons made between him and Winston Churchill, as statesmen.

Despite Churchill’s success in leading Great Britain to victory during World War II, British voters booted him from office three months after the war ended. Churchill was 70 at the time. He patiently led the opposition and six years later, in 1951, he once again became prime minister.

Bibi, who also sports a successful track record as Israel’s longest governing prime minister, is a spry 72 and would love nothing more than to avenge his recent political defeats, perpetrated by politicians who were once his protégés.

In short, don’t expect Bibi to give up, or give in.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 885)

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