After the fourth election in two years and the increasingly likely departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as the country’s prime minister, the situation in Israel is becoming more and more volatile – and Netanyahu himself is once again pouring fuel on the fire.
Netanyahu is doing nothing less than losing power on Sunday after 12 years in office, but he is not willing to accept the latest development of a variety of opponents joining hands against him.
Instead, it puts massive pressure on members of the Knesset not to vote for a new government by mobilizing their supporters, who have gathered in front of lawmakers ’homes for demonstrations and intimidation efforts.
These next few days will show if the Netanyahu era is really over. Since the government’s planned alliance with the Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett he has only a meager majority of 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, every day counts.
Netanyahu and his Likud party’s efforts to find deserters among the coalition forces is the latest example of “King Bibi” and his quest for power.
Ironically, it was Netanyahu who made the next government possible passing a new law and ending the tradition of not entering into discussions with Arab parties, said Donna Robinson Divine, professor of Jewish Studies and Government at Smith College.
“Netanyahu has paved the way for an alternative government that will gain power. He has introduced a Basic Law that allows alternative prime ministers; to speak to Mansour Abbas about supporting his own coalition, ”he told Al Jazeera.
Machiavellian power plays a role
It has become a new topic in Israeli politics. For years Netanyahu has used all sorts of political tricks and Machiavellian power games to remain the country’s prime minister. However, Israel paid dearly. Politically, Israel has been paralyzed. Even the most basic responsibilities of government have been put on hold, Divine said.
“Netanyahu has found ways to impose four elections in two years on Israel, the country having to operate without a budget for the last two,” he said.
Socially, the country is deeply divided, essentially into pro and anti-Netanyahu camps.
The head of the Israeli national security agency Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, warned of political violence and called on all those involved to disarm verbally.
Without naming names, Argaman’s remarks were directed primarily at Netanyahu and Likud. The latter openly insulted the right-wing Knesset members of the future coalition as traitors.
While Netanyahu himself said he condemned any call to violence, he is fully aware of its words and its effects.
“Netanyahu is a very bright, well-read politician and master of Israeli political tactics,” Divina said.
His words were thus chosen deliberately. Netanyahu spoke of “the largest electoral fraud in the history of the state”, And also the“ biggest fraud in the history of democracy. ”Bennett’s decision to enter into a coalition with the left and the Arabs was why people felt cheated and reacted accordingly, Netanyahu he pontificated.
Netanyahu’s rhetoric resembles former U.S. President Donald Trump and his post-election statements, particularly on Jan. 6 – lies that has unleashed rare political violence in that country.
‘Israel is in danger’ campaign
Asked if Netanyahu’s comments on election fraud are similar to Trump’s playbook, Uriel Abulof, a visiting associate professor at Cornell University, told Al Jazeera: “To an extent: Netanyahu was not suggesting he was rigged. , but that Bennett deceived his constituents. However, Bennett did not, as he clearly indicated that he would like to see Netanyahu expelled. “
In fact, Bennett said he didn’t want to work main member of the Yair Lapid coalition or Arab parties. However, the devil seems to be in the details, Abulof said.
Many refer to Bennett’s signing of a document pledging not to sit with Lapid and the Arab party, but forget that the document bore the title of “treaty,” and Bennett invited Netanyahu to sign it. Netanyahu did not. not done, then supposedly it’s nothing. ”
However, as Abulof also pointed out, Bennett did not resort to this reasoning. So, you could feel that he had to cancel his promise.
An additional fuel was added by the support of an influential group of national-religious and ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who adopted a similar tone by saying “everything” to do to prevent the new government from swearing.
On the other hand, the situation has been further aggravated by reports that the new government will seek to pass a law preventing Netanyahu from serving.
While Bennett’s Yamina party is arguing this was only a proposal and denying this law has reached the final version of the agreement between the coalition, the voice itself has had an effect already and could be in favor of Netanyahu, said Maayan Geva, a professor in the University’s Department of Social Sciences of Roehampton.
“The reports have been widely spread by Netanyahu himself and the media that support him, so they are used in Netanyahu’s campaign ‘Israel is in danger,'” Geva told Al Jazeera.
While Geva acknowledged that such a law could finally be passed, it is not without obstacles.
“Netanyahu is certainly the source of many problems for competing politicians, and if they are in a position to pass a law to help them solve the Netanyahu problem, then they could very well pursue it. It is worth noting that even if a law is written and approved by the Knesset, it is very likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court of Justice ”.
“Israel is not a monarchy”
Meanwhile, Bennett spoke of a “violent machine” that was deliberately put into operation. Then, speaking directly to Netanyahu, he said, “Let it go and allow Israel to move forward.”
As for Likud’s claim that the new government will be far from left, he replied that the coalition was “10 degrees further to the right” than the current one and Israel was allowed to elect a government not led by Netanyahu.
For Bennett, it will be about resilience and focus on the next few days.
“There will be a lot of screaming about the government’s transition, but Naftali Bennett is right – Israel is not a monarchy,” Divine said.
However, the damage was done. Netanyahu is apparently inclined to endanger Israeli democracy by the poor possibility of remaining in any way in power, mainly for personal reasons, Divine said.
“His desire to be in charge like that.” a way to avoid prison if he is convicted on charges against him he has compromised the institutions of the State ”.
However, the implications of Netanyahu’s selfish modus operandi are vast and dangerous, according to Geva.
“We are witnessing a desperate politician who has been in power for a long time and is afraid of what will happen if he is no longer PM. Netanyahu has a strong support base, and it is possible that some violence ensued in response to his demands. Perhaps part of this violence will be directed at members of the planned government, particularly members of right-wing parties that Netanyahu finds as traitors. ”
“Act on the accusations”?
Netanyahu, of all people, should be aware of how quickly heated circumstances can escalate. In 1995, then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated from a right hardliner.
Similar to today, Netanyahu has played a role and doesn’t seem to have learned. While he was a leader of the opposition, he was the keynote speaker in two demonstrations that included songs such as “Death to Rabin” and was generally involved in the anti-Rabin movement. He has denied the allegations.
“Netanyahu is once again playing a major role in fueling the dangerous idea that the country is under existential threat in an attempt to rally its supporters,” Geva said.
“So, it’s easy to compare the present with 1995 based on the concern that people are acting on the accusations coming from Netanyahu and his supporters, and using violence to ‘save the country.’
So what does the worst case scenario look like? “A civil war if violence breaks out,” Abulof said. However, the possibility of this is currently minimal, he acknowledged.
“If Bennett is sworn in, chances are the state will force Netanyahu to leave – albeit without grace,” he said.
In essence, the current situation is further proof if Israel becomes a failing state, Abulof concluded.