‘Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, must be channeling the spirit of Houdini as he continues to plot his escape from one of the most convoluted political dilemmas in Israel’s history.
It is no secret that Netanyahu’s political behavior is almost entirely shaped by his desire to survive in office for as long as possible in order to avoid possible jail time. But how long will the Israeli escape artist manage to survive, now that a date for his trial has already been set?
After months of bargaining with the country’s political elite, on one hand, and pleading to his own right-wing constituency on the other, Netanyahu has failed to create the necessary momentum that would render him immune from prosecution and secure his position at the helm of Israeli politics.
After failing to form a government following the April elections, he has masterfully linked his fate as a Prime Minister to all of Israel’s affairs, internal and external.
Still, there is little evidence that Netanyahu’s diplomatic and financial conquests have yielded the intended results of augmenting his support among ordinary Israelis, especially as Benny Gantz, who heads the Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) party, has continued to venture further to the right, slowly undermining Netanyahu’s support in every facet of Israeli society. The September election has demonstrated Gantz’s ability to overcome Netanyahu’s various political advantages in the eyes of the Israeli voters.
Israelis are scheduled to return to the voting booths on March 2, to vote in the third general elections in less than one year. Within that short period of time, Gantz has managed to repeatedly alter his persona to behave like a right-wing politician, while still presenting himself as a centrist, who is willing to engage with the left in order to build a future government coalition.
Knowing that the noose has tightened around his neck since the first elections in April, Netanyahu resorted to Washington to release its so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.
Indeed, the ‘Middle East plan’ was revealed ahead of schedule to provide the despairing Israeli leader a final lifeline that would help him win his multiple battles in a decisive blow.
Alas, for Netanyahu, things didn’t work out as planned.’
Read more: In Israel, Corruption and Political Turmoil Mark Netanyahu’s Desperate Bid to Stay in Power