Israel: threatened with indictment, Netanyahu weakened in polls

The Israeli Attorney General’s decision to initiate legal proceedings against the Prime Minister on suspicion of corruption has relaunched the campaign, five weeks before the early parliamentary elections.
Fifty-seven pages that will weigh heavily, like a paper ball at the feet of candidate Benyamin Netanyahu, five weeks before the legislative elections. Released on Thursday evening, the summary justifying the decision of Prosecutor General Avishai Mandelblit to initiate a three-pronged indictment procedure against the Israeli Prime Minister suspected of corruption – a process that is still reversible in the legal field – is already producing its first political effects. The most spectacular are visible in the polls published just after the Sabbath, on Saturday evening.

For the first time since his return to power ten years ago, Netanyahu has been overtaken by another candidate, namely his former chief of staff, Benny Gantz, on the criterion of “compatibility” with the post of Prime Minister. For a small majority of Israelis, the retired general now has more the makings of a leader than the leader of the Likud in the pursuit of justice. If this indicator does not do everything, since the conquest of power in Israel is dependent on the ability to form a coalition, it is essential to claim Balfour Street.

 

“I wish you good luck.”
There is also a quivering of the “blocks”, until recently described as immutable. The domination of right-wing and ultra-nationalist parties allied to the religious appears more fragile than ever in the face of a possible alliance of centrists with the left. Especially since Bleu et Blanc, the supergroup of centrist “patriots” including Gantz, former minister and TV star Yaïr Lapid as well as two former IDF leaders, is now credited with a substantial advance against the Likud (36 seats against 28).

The political reactions did not surprise anyone. Within an hour of the Attorney General’s announcement, the parties of the current far-right coalition reaffirmed their allegiance to Netanyahu. All, except Koulanou, the small group of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, a self-proclaimed singer of the “dignified right”. He only gave his support to “Bibi” with his lipstick, long after the others. According to the pollsters, some of his flock, tired by the turpitudes of Netanyahu, could defection to Gantz et al.

It is undoubtedly to appease them that the general plays her magnanimous cheek with Netanyahu, showing her politely the door without demonizing her. “I expect you to manage your dealings with the law as a private citizen, and I wish you good luck,” said Gantz, considering it impossible to be a “half-time Prime Minister”. Nail driven in by his sidekick Lapid, who hopes, for the image of the country, “that[Netanyahu] be cleared”, but does not imagine how to run the state “between two meetings with his lawyers”.

Another worrying sign for Netanyahu is that his standing in the United States is crumbling. Bret Stephens, an influential editorial writer for the New York Times, known for his pro-Israeli positions, called for his resignation. This repentant thurifer of the Prime Minister describes him as “a cynic wrapped in an ideology inside a scam”, fundamentally “toxic”. In short, “the Israeli Nixon”.

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