Israel’s Conundrum: Mixing Politics and Personal Crises (AUDIO INTERVIEW)
Israelis protest against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his political efforts to avoid criminal indictment, during a rally last Saturday evening in Tel Aviv. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israel’s Conundrum: Mixing Politics and Personal Crises (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is fighting not only for his political life, but for his potential legal freedom as a citizen, facing possible indictments in three separate criminal cases involving corruption. He moved elections forward in the hope that a resounding victory might keep the indictments at bay.

He won – although not as resoundingly as he might have wished. Now that it’s time to form a governing coalition, he’s run into a serious snag concerning contradicting points of view held by two potential coalition partners. One of them is the Yisrael Beytenu party, whose leader, Avigdor Liberman, insists he won’t join and give Netanyahu the majority he needs until the other side backs down.

Rather than return the mandate he was given to form a coalition and thus risk losing the standing he thinks will keep him far from a courtroom, Netanyahu has had his party initiate legislation to dissolve the seven-week-old Knesset and hold yet another election, a very costly and time-consuming endeavor. The deadline is tonight, at 11:59 p.m.

Israeli commentator and author Amotz Asa-El, speaking to The Media Line, explains how Netanyahu has created a precedent by intertwining his personal legal battles with the country’s politics, and how Liberman, once his protégé and now one of his chief political nemeses, is taking advantage of this.

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