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Why Smotrich could finish off Netanyahu – analysis

CM 18/04/2021 1


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did more in last month’s election to win support for another party that is not his own than any other politician in Israeli history.

Politically, it made sense for him to woo voters to the Religious Zionist Party of Bezalel Smotrich, because if the party failed to cross the threshold, his camp could have lost up to 150,000 votes. Netanyahu also wanted to shift voters away from Naftali Bennett’s Yamina, because Bennett was not ruling out an anti-Netanyahu government. 
So Netanyahu told voters over the Green Line to vote for either Likud or Smotrich’s party. He encouraged Smotrich to run together with extremists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Avi Maoz. He even gave a Religious Zionist Party MK, Ofir Sofer, a realistic slot on the Likud list.
But Netanyahu made two mistakes: He underestimated the support of Smotrich, who won six seats (not counting Sofer’s), and he underestimated the stubbornness of Smotrich, who is not willing to compromise in any way to enable Netanyahu to form a government that relies on the backing of the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party of MK Mansour Abbas.
If Netanyahu, or anyone else, thought that Smotrich’s position would soften over time due to pressure, they have been proven very wrong. Smotrich is only talking tougher and tougher against any compromise with Ra’am whatsoever, writing Sunday that he would prefer a fifth election or an anti-Netanyahu coalition that includes Arab MKs.  
“You are running into the arms of terror supporters,” Smotrich wrote to Netanyahu loyalist Shimon Riklin on Twitter Sunday morning. “Even a fifth election is much more preferable than such suicide. And you know what, even the strange combination that I did not think could be formed [is preferable]. And if it will be, it will last a few months and collapse – and then the Right will come back big time. [This] is better than destroying the Right and Zionism.”
Netanyahu has faced more than his share of criticism from across the political map throughout his entire political career since entering politics when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States. But it is doubtful he ever faced such harsh criticism from the Right as he faced from Smotrich in that tweet.

Destroying the Right and Zionism and committing suicide? Netanyahu? With a political ally like this, who needs enemies?
Smotrich has been credited with acting firmly for ideological reasons. He has been praised for being the last Israeli politician with a spine, and it has been written that Netanyahu has not understood how to handle a politician who cannot be purchased with portfolios and promises, when every politician until now had a price.
He genuinely believes that if the most right-wing party in the Knesset in 40 years gives its stamp of approval to a non-Zionist party, every government from now on would have the legitimacy to do the same thing. Arab MKs would enter the government and sit in the security cabinet as life and death decisions are made.  
Had ideology been Smotrich’s sole consideration, that could indeed have been praiseworthy. But there is plenty of politics involved as well.
Smotrich sees himself as the leader of the religious Zionists and the entire political Right. Standing against compromise with Arab MKs could make him that leader.
If there is a fifth election, neither Netanyahu nor Bennett could say they shunned the Israeli partners of Hamas in the Southern branch of the Islamic Movement. Only Smotrich will be able to tell right-wing voters that he is their true champion. 
Smotrich is not the only Israeli politician who is considering the realistic possibility of additional elections when he makes his decisions. This has been making it very hard to form a government for two years. 
But he is the only one who piggybacked into the Knesset on another leader, who he is currently in the process of killing off politically.
It would be a tremendous irony if Smotrich succeeds and ends Netanyahu’s political career.
Netanyahu has survived challenges from countless political adversaries and rivals over the years. But he could end up being finished off by his ultimate ally. 

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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