15.4 C
New York
Saturday, September 30, 2023

Buy now


Benjamin Netanyahu loses aura of invincibility

Iprime minister of israelFor years, Binyamin Netanyahu was regarded as one of the most gifted politicians of his time. His ability to keep winning elections, becoming Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, earned him the nickname “The Magician”. His tenacity — Mr Netanyahu fought five elections in four years to win a supermajority — — paid off when he returned to office last year. Supremacists and homophobes. Yet his panic-stricken behavior over the past few days suggests that he has lost his political touch and the aura of invincibility that has made him such a formidable statesman for much of the past three decades.

Mr Netanyahu’s December deal with religious and right-wing parties included a pledge to weaken the power and independence of the Supreme Court. Many on the right oppose unelected judges, who they believe are designed to thwart the will of elected politicians. Yet over the past 12 weeks, Israelis have taken to the streets to protect the independence of the judiciary. Their numbers have grown steadily. The demonstrations, led mostly by secular Israelis, have intensified in recent days as Mr Netanyahu’s government tries to push its legislation through April 2, when the Knesset is recessed for about a month.

Crucial to the protest movement are the thousands of pilots and officers, many of them in the elite military reserves, who have threatened not to report for service. They declared in the petition that they would not “serve the dictatorship,” creating potential problems for the Israeli military, which relies heavily on its reserves. Security chiefs complain that it makes it difficult for them to respond to escalating violence on the Palestinian front in the occupied West Bank, as well as more distant threats from Iran and its proxies in the region. The issue came to a head on 25 March when Defense Minister Yoav Galant publicly warned that tensions over judicial reform were affecting the Defense Force and security agencies. “This poses a clear, immediate and tangible threat to national security,” he said.

A day later, Mr Netanyahu fired him – quite possibly the biggest political blunder of his career. He seems more worried about losing support from far-right and extremist religious parties in his coalition than heeding the advice of his inner-Likud allies and ministers to suspend legislation and seek compromises, whose support he needs to stay in government. In the hours after he fired Mr Gallant, Israelis again began pouring into the streets, laying siege to Mr Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem and blocking major roads in Tel Aviv. The next morning, unions and the country’s main employers announced a general strike, closing ports, grounding flights at major airports and bringing much of the country to a standstill. By then it was clear that it was game over.

On the night of March 27, Netanyahu backed down and announced a “pause” in legislative talks. However, instead of calming his temper, he angered them again, babbling: “There are a handful of extremists who are willing to tear our country to pieces… Escorting us into civil war and demanding conscientious objection is a terrible crime .”

A senior official in his administration argued that the talks could offer Israel an opportunity to finally address its lack of a formal constitution and clarify the status of its “fundamental” laws, which the Supreme Court has accorded quasi-constitutional status. But could not Sidestepping the fact is that Netanyahu has lost the battle and will struggle to push through legislation in the next parliamentary session. It seems unlikely that secular and liberal Israelis, who once rose up, will back down in a month or two on an issue they see as a serious threat to Israeli democracy. Efforts to force through change without widespread support will undoubtedly lead to more protests. However, if Netanyahu significantly weakens their influence, he may have a hard time maintaining the support of right-wing and religious parties.

Even if Mr Netanyahu is able to keep his coalition in power, his actions have seriously damaged him in the eyes of the business community and the defense establishment, a challenge for a man who has based his entire career on economic growth and national security The prime minister is two important supporters. Israel. Instead, history may remember him for bringing Israel to the brink of civil war and leaving it deeply divided.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles