Netanyahu out of options but not out of his mind – analysis


Why Netanyahu is still trying to block Bennett but not to trump Trump * Nevertheless, Netanyahu is still trying to prevent Incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett from forming a government. GIL HOFFMAN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits at the plenum at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem May 30, 2019.

(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

A date has been set to swear in the new government that will replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The last wavering MK has been pacified.

And outgoing President Reuven Rivlin is ready to host the new cabinet for the traditional photograph at the President’s Residence that will help him come full circle at the end of his tenure.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu is still trying to prevent incoming-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett from forming a government.

The Likud’s governing secretariat approved a proposal on Tuesday to reserve slots on the party’s list for the next Knesset for MKs who break off from New Hope or Yamina.

The proposal was intended as a last-ditch effort to woo defectors from the coalition being formed and deprive it of a majority.

Until the last minute, a chance remains to torpedo the new government and keep Netanyahu in office, Netanyahu’s spokesman said.

“We have to maintain hope that someone will come around at the last minute, even though I admit there is not a good chance,” Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar said. “We will leave with grace, statesmanship and respect. But we still need to leave the option open for MKs on the Right to go with their ideology.”

Zohar admitted he could not think of anything Netanyahu could still do. The question of whether another military operation could begin over the weekend following a proposed march of religious-Zionist youth through Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem was deemed disrespectful by Netanyahu’s associates.

So was the option of hiding an MK from Yamina or Ra’am (United Arab List) in an orchard.

In April 1990, when Shimon Peres tried to form a government, two MKs he was counting on went into hiding. A since-debunked legend had it that Ariel Sharon of Likud hid Avraham Werdiger and Eliezer Mizrahi of the Agudat Yisrael Party in an orchard in the Lachish region.

While Netanyahu sounded similar to former US president Donald Trump when he called the government being formed “the fraud of the century,” his associates said the Trump comparisons should stop there due to the differences in systems of government between Israel and the US.

While Trump’s efforts to cancel the election results by recounting millions of votes in multiple states were hopeless from the start, Netanyahu only needs to persuade one MK out of 61 in the incoming coalition.

That is legitimate in a parliamentary democracy, they said, and as opposition leader, Netanyahu’s job will be to continue those efforts.

So Netanyahu will not try to trump Trump or bypass democracy. He merely intends to play his role within the democratic system, and he hopes that against all odds, he will still emerge victorious.



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