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Netanyahu’s Monday: Court Appearance While Party Pitches President for Prolonged Premiership

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s personal calendar for Monday clearly demonstrates the bifurcated public life of the nation’s longest-serving prime minister. Ordered by the court hearing corruption cases against him to appear in person to hear the prosecutor read his opening statement, officials of his Likud party will, at the same time, be presenting the party’s case to have President Reuven Rivlin hand Netanyahu the privilege of attempting to form the next coalition government. Although the two issues are certainly co-mingled, voters have shown far less than a blanket rejection of the PM-under-siege through three previous stalemated elections. Nevertheless, the alliances being presented to the president are, indeed, tempered by the promises of those politicians who said they would pass on participating in a Netanyahu-led government. In Israel, voters cast their ballots for parties rather than individual candidates, so this week the president will hear from each of more than a dozen parties to get a sense of which party leader, if any, can actually weave together a coalition of at least 61 of the 120 seats in parliament. Most pundits believe the option of another election – the fifth in about two years – is the most likely result. Others warn to be on the lookout for strange bedfellows.