Netanyahu caught left-footed, while rival Lapid postulates unity government with Likud

Early electioneering finds Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thrown back by setbacks and fierce assaults by critics and opponents in his fight for re-election on April 9 at the head of a Likud-led right-wing religious bloc. Still looming in the coming days is the Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit’s unknown decision on indictments for the three corruption probes against him. Netanyahu is still nursing the wounds from the punch delivered by the pro-Israeli Washington lobby AIPAC, who denigrated his support for an alliance between Jewish Home and the far-right Otzma Yehudit parties.

Opinion polls since the rise of the new Blue-Right party alliance led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid substantially favor the new entity over the prime minister’s Likud, although the broad government-versus-opposition blocs are even. To make up the difference, Netanyahu was forced to enlist Otzma, while accusing Blue-Right of counting in the 12 Arab seats to make up its numbers.

The prime minister did not bargain on the high price he would pay for this step. It was the first time that an American Jewish organization had intervened in an Israeli election. How this was achieved, despite Likud and its leader’s many friends in the organization, may see the light of day in the future. But the damage is meanwhile substantial; boosting the opposing Blue-White leaders’ confident stance as the coming heads of government.

Rival Yair Lapid, one of Blue-White’s four leaders, announced on Sunday night, Feb. 24, that after Netanyahu was gone, he would invite Likud to share in a national unity government that would be broadly based enough to dispense with the support of the Arab parties, on the one hand, and the religious bloc, including Otzma, on the other.
The new alliance had never before admitted that its main goal was to remove Netanyahu as prime minister and had no qualms about a partnership with Likud.  
Lapid ’s action also positioned him a step above the three fellow members of the tetrad they had formed to lead the Blue-White alliance, i.e., former generals Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya’alon and Gaby Ashkenazi – although it was agreed that Gantz was to precede him in the rotating premiership. Amid this political whirlwind and uncertainties, Netanyahu will have to draw on his considerable experience, political savvy and deep-seated popularity to fight his way back to the top in the weeks remaining up to April 9.

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9 thoughts on “Netanyahu caught left-footed, while rival Lapid postulates unity government with Likud

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 10:58 at 10:58

    Ultimately, as they say, it’s not over ’til the “fat lady sings” (i.e. until all the votes are counted). Whichever party bloc wins the election will have their hands full with the threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, with the Soviets watching from one side and the Arab Sunni nations watching from the other side.

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:27 at 11:27

    That’s why Blue & White are showing they are scared with hardly any experience yet want to call the shots. That is all too clear to Israelis now Lapid has

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:29 at 11:29

    Lapid could not hold his water ; Blue & White is over

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:44 at 11:44

    Much ado about nothing. Polls are skewed. Netanyahu will win handily.

    • Feb 25, 2019 @ 19:20 at 19:20

      Totally agree with you!

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 11:51 at 11:51

    Internal politics make me vomit, like here in America.
    I hope Debka stay out of these dirty games. It’s nasty.

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 12:48 at 12:48

    Although I dont really like Bibi, I dont feel the others are any better. In fact I think they will be worse. I can remember the ‘feeling’ I had when Olmert was PM and the debacle and weak leadership during the Lebanon war 2006. When I think of these people they remind me of him. Now’s not the time to destabilize the country.

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 16:08 at 16:08

    maybe kushner’s peace plan will work better without netanyahu.

  • Feb 25, 2019 @ 17:55 at 17:55

    Netanyahu is a statesman. The others are generals who should stick to war and not politics. As for Lapid , he is a radio disc jockey, nothing more.

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