There are people all over the world trying to push Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu out of office. Now, it’s not that I’m a great fan of his –I have just too many complaints– but like most Israelis, there just isn’t an alternative, neither on the Right or Left of the Israeli political spectrum. And if there’s one truism that applies for any politician running for a nation-leading spot in this world, it’s that when in office his/her supporters will be very upset and disappointed. Very few, whether in the USA or Israel or anyplace else keeps important campaign promises, especially when it comes to Israeli issues.
Barely a year had passed between Netanyahu’s two most recent elections, and lots of pundits and politicians, especially the wannabes, have been predicting that his razor-thin majority of just 61 wouldn’t/couldn’t last even as long as his previous government. Well, so far they’re wrong.
The members of Bibi’s coalition seem to be sufficiently afraid of elections to keep the coalition going. And many actually prefer Netanyahu as Prime Minister much more than they’d like to see Herzog of Labor aka National Union as PM. Jeremy’s Knesset Insider describes the situation very well in his My Weekend Perspective: The Key to Defeating Netanyahu is Phase 2.
One of the reasons that Israeli political party leaders are afraid of elections is that for decades already, certainly since 1977, the polls frequently under-predict the popularity of the Likud. And that is why we’ve seen Likud led coalitions for most of close to forty years. Also, in recent years Netanyahu has proven himself to be a very capable and wily politician. Again, I don’t like his policies. I’m past disappointment, because I have seen too much. I heard him say, during the short time that Ehud Barak was Prime Minister, that he thinks a Prime Minister should be a Centrist, so ideology plays second fiddle to that. And what he calls Center I call Left. That mix does give him a national popularity which can’t be denied. Remember that I’m an uncompromising unabashed Right wing extremist compared to most Israelis.
The Israeli Left has nobody who can be considered a national leader. They are trying to promote Moshe Kahlon and maybe Gideon Sa’ar. About Sa’ar, I don’t think he’s “hungry” enough for the climb to top office, and I don’t know if he really wants to risk his marriage for it. Basically his wife, TV news presenter Geula Even, would have to curtail her career if he was to return to active politics.
There’s an irony in one of the complaints about Netanyahu, his age. Although he may be approaching Israeli retirement age, he’s still younger than the top contenders for the American presidency, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.