ANALYST CLAIMS ISRAEL ON THE VERGE OF POST-NETANYAHU ERA
Israeli author and political analyst Gershom Gorenberg says next Monday, April 5, 2021, will see two pivotal events happening in Jerusalem. First, at the Jerusalem District Court, prosecutors will, at last, begin presenting evidence in the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Second, across town, President Reuven Rivlin will start meeting representatives of Israel’s political parties to hear who they want to lead Israel’s next coalition and government — Netanyahu or one of his challengers — in the wake of the latest general election.
“That the two events are happening at the same time is an accident, but one laden with meaning. It sharpens the question of whether the era of Netanyahu is finally over. Normally, it’s clear by the time the last votes are counted, a couple of days after an Israeli election, which party leader has a clear path to forming a government.
But last week’s election yielded a deadlock. In part, that’s because Netanyahu has flouted an unwritten norm of the Israeli system: He has refused to step down in the face of criminal allegations against him,” Gorenberg wrote for the Washington Post.
“This time around, New Hope, led by former Likud cabinet member Gideon Saar, committed itself to rejecting support from Arab parties. If there is one reason that Israeli elections keep producing deadlocks, it’s this ongoing boycott of the Arab minority’s representatives, this bigotry dressed up as principle.
Ironically, in his desperate effort to stay in power, Netanyahu is now breaking the taboo that he assiduously cultivated in the past. He is courting support from Mansour Abbas and his United Arab List, an Islamist faction that broke with the Joint List and seeks the role of kingmaker.
Yet Netanyahu also needs the backing of the far-right Religious Zionist party. Religious Zionist leaders have ruled out a partnership with the United Arab List, which in turn says it won’t back a coalition including the far right. The master tactician may defeat himself. By pursuing Abbas, Netanyahu may erode the taboo enough for Saar to accept a coalition with the Arab parties. If it's kosher for Netanyahu, why not for New Hope?” Gorenberg concluded.