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How Netanyahu Might Find Himself Out of Office
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (left) and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. (US State Department; Reuven Kapochinsky/Israel Resilience Party)

How Netanyahu Might Find Himself Out of Office

Makor Rishon, Israel, December 10

For the most part I do not like to quote myself. But this time it is impossible to resist. Here are the things I published a week ago: “December 2020 is a fateful month for Netanyahu, his future and his place in history. This time he has no room to maneuver. He must not make mistakes. If he loses power he will lose his freedom. He must choose a unity government with actual partnership and compromise. But since Netanyahu is Netanyahu, the idea of partnership is foreign to him. The idea of compromise is unfamiliar to him. This is his biggest mistake. Sooner or later, he will find himself out of office.” Little did I know that what I estimated would happen in three months happened in about three days. Gideon Saar’s decision to resign from the Likud and form a right-wing anti-Bibi party completely shuffled the cards of Israeli politics. We are now facing an unprecedented reality. There is no more confrontation between left, center and right. The national-conservative camp won unprecedented support in Israel, but its leader, Netanyahu, is no longer invincible. Netanyahu’s political strategy over the past six months has collapsed. His arrogant behavior towards Ganz, Bennett and Saar has had devastating consequences for him. His decision to trample on Blue and White, disregard the rotation agreement, empty the unity government of any substance, and go to the polls turned out to be a fatal mistake. Just like I wrote here a few weeks ago, Bibi’s last stick was one stick too many. It could lead to a personal disaster and it could lead Israel to a national tragedy. What is happening before our eyes is a fascinating political drama. The incumbent prime minister is probably the most talented statesman walking today on this earth. He has a vision and has a worldview — but he also knows reality well and knows how to maneuver within it with sophistication. Netanyahu is a superb chess player who plays on a three-dimensional chessboard with extraordinary skill. He uses people like black and white soldiers on the board, and promotes them or destroys them as he pleases. He therefore humiliated Saar without any justification. Similarly, he fired Bennett for no reason. And he harassed Gantz without any logic. He did not keep his word and did not keep his allies, and acted as if there was no one but him. And worst of all: Netanyahu turned Israel into a one-man state, and the Likud into a movement of personality worship. His sin was an addiction to narcissistic selfishness. And for this sin Netanyahu is now being punished. Because he left too many people outside his alliance. The inability to maintain loyalties and maintain partnerships caused the super chess player to lose his own game of chess. Is this the end? Are Saar, Bennett and Lieberman about to overthrow Netanyahu and establish a new kind of right-right-right government? Can the incumbent prime minister find himself behind bars? Both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz have a few days left. The noose is already around their necks. If they fail to learn the lesson of their past mistakes, they are both likely to be annihilated from the political map. –Ari Shavit (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)


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