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Netanyahu’s only way to survive is to take Bennett down with him

CM 22/04/2021 4


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 Since Time magazine crowned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “King Bibi” in 2012, many attempts have been made to compare him to monarchs throughout history and the Bible.

But as he approaches what is looking more and more like the end of his political career, the biblical leader that Netanyahu appears to be emulating is not a king but a judge.
Samson, like Netanyahu, was a mighty and revered leader of the Jewish people who looked undefeatable during his 20 years of leadership, five more than Netanyahu’s 15. But he had his weaknesses, including with women.
When Samson was captured by his enemies, he decided to bring them down with him and used the remainder of his strength to collapse their temple on top of all of them, killing more of his enemies as he died than he had throughout his life.
AT HIS press conference on Wednesday night, Netanyahu looked like a shadow of his former self. He rambled on, unfocused and unlike the communicator he has been throughout his career. He looked tired, dejected and defeated.
And most of all, he appeared vengeful against his former protégé turned despised rival and potential successor, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, whom he attacked, mocked and besmirched over and over again.
It was already clear from Netanyahu’s previous press conference the day before that he had given up on forming a government with his mandate from President Reuven Rivlin.

But other than revenge, what point can there be in repeatedly disparaging his potential partner for a coalition that could still be formed until his mandate ends on May 4? And why is Netanyahu wasting time and energy pursuing the obviously far-fetched political maneuver of initiating direct elections for prime minister?
Sources close to Netanyahu revealed exclusively on Thursday that there remains a method to the prime minister’s madness. Taking Bennett down with him is not only vengeful for Netanyahu. It’s his only chance of political survival.
First of all, there genuinely is no way for Netanyahu to form a government now. Neither Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich, nor New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar will budge and compromise on his behalf.
He met with Bennett five times since he received the four-week mandate and did not make serious progress with him, despite a charm offensive that included inviting him to the Prime Minister’s Residence for the first time in Bennett’s nine years in politics. The last meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, which both sides described as particularly bad, was the final nail in the coffin of any potential partnership between them.
The only way for Netanyahu to remain prime minister is to successfully sabotage the coalition talks between Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid that will begin in earnest after Netanyahu’s mandate is over.
It is already very hard for Bennett to make the compromises necessary to form a unity government in which he would rotate as prime minister with Lapid. It requires breaking four campaign promises: He said he would not sit in a Lapid-led government, he ruled out a coalition with Meretz, he vetoed controversial Labor MK Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin, and he vowed to join only a government with a right-wing majority.
Netanyahu is out to make it even harder by discrediting Bennett among the political base they share on the Right. As he has done successfully to rivals throughout his career, Netanyahu is trying to taint Bennett as left-wing.
The ally of Netanyahu in that effort is Smotrich, who is purposely remaining silent now to maximize his attacks on Bennett later on. Smotrich’s only statement about Bennett since Netanyahu’s and Bennett’s speeches on Wednesday was to tweet a picture of an etrog.
For right-wing voters, the etrog has come to symbolize their wrath for politicians who after moving leftward were coddled by the media the way the expensive fruit is protected during the Sukkot holiday. Left-wing commentator Amnon Abramowitz made the etrog comparison about Ariel Sharon, as he prepared to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
It is Smotrich, not Bennett, who is preventing Netanyahu from forming a government by ruling out a coalition with the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party of MK Mansour Abbas. His veto is not only due to ideology but because Bennett, sitting in a coalition supported by Abbas, would enable Smotrich to claim the leadership of religious Zionists and the Right.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu did not attack Smotrich in his press conference, because that would not currently help him. He needs Smotrich to help him stop Bennett from forming a government.
Only if Bennett fails can a fifth election be initiated that Netanyahu will get yet another chance to win. It could be an election for Knesset or a direct election for prime minister.
Raising the direct election for prime minister idea helps Netanyahu discredit Bennett, because while it is hard to make the case that Bennett is at fault for not enabling the formation of a right-wing coalition now, Yamina’s seven votes could have enabled Netanyahu to pass the direct election for prime minister bill.
The bill would have made Netanyahu prime minister automatically at first, assuming he would win the election. It would have given him three more months after the election to form a government.
BENNETT MOCKED direct elections for prime minister as a waste of time and billions of shekels in his speech on Wednesday night. But he purposely did not rule them out, because he can use the threat of initiating direct elections to help him negotiate with Lapid.
Once the possibility of joining a Netanyahu-led government is off the table when the mandate runs out, Bennett will go into negotiations with Lapid with less leverage. The direct election threat can help him obtain a more right-wing coalition, with key ideological portfolios like Defense, Justice and Education going to figures on the Right and not to Labor or Meretz.
Bennett has been successfully building an alibi for joining a coalition with the Center and Left for his supporters on the Right. He has been repeating that he did everything possible to enable Netanyahu to form a right-wing government.
His next step will be to show them that he will make a serious effort to bring right-wing and religious parties into the coalition after Netanyahu fails to form a government. Only if all those efforts do not succeed will he form the coalition that has been the most likely since the election, with Labor and Meretz and the outside support of Ra’am.
Bennett watched Netanyahu attack on TV on Wednesday night. Those who were with him said he did not flinch as he watched the prime minister deliver blow after blow after blow. When the press conference ended, Bennett merely smiled and said the word “next” – in English, of course.
He is used to being attacked by Netanyahu. It has been happening since Bennett entered politics, though the attacks have become increasingly fierce.
Soon, it will apparently be time for Bennett to get his revenge on Netanyahu. The Prime Minister’s Residence on Jerusalem’s Smolenskin and Balfour streets, where Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, made Bennett persona non grata, will become his home for the first two years of his rotation with Lapid.
Even if he would consider it, the intense security around the compound would not allow Netanyahu to take the building down before Bennett moves in.•

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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