Is This The End For Bibi?

by Micha Gefen

Politicians come and go. Leaders come and go. Yet, somehow Bibi Netanyahu transcended the bounds of normal Western politics and reached Putin territory. What is remarkable in Netanyahu’s accomplishments is that he was able to stay in power so long despite Israel’s notoriously fragile political system. So many are wondering – is this the end of the “forever” Prime Minister?

Naftali Bennett has been gunning for Netanyahu’s job for the last 7 years. A former Netanyahu associate, head of Yesha, and commando as well as a hi-tech success, Naftali Bennett has all the criteria for being an excellent Prime Minister. The problem is, he is no Bibi. He has less street appeal and because of that never cracked into the upper teens in terms of seats needed to have a chance at toppling Netanyahu from the outside.

Instead, he has made a deal with secularist Yair Lapid – essentially throwing his supporters under the bus. True, if the deal goes through, Bennett will be Prime Minister. However, the coalition will be so fragile, it not only needs the Islamist Raam party to stay in power, but if one MK bolts – its new elections all over again.

While it certainly seems that this may be the end of Bibi, he should never be counted out. In fact, from today until the swearing in of the Bennett-Lapid Coalition anything can happen and I mean anything.

There is a lot of pressure being applied to Bennett’s number two Ayelet Shaked who reports suggest is not happy with going with Lapid and in the same vein, Ultra Orthodox law makers are trying to sway Gidon Saar, the head of the rightist New Hope party to break ranks with Lapid and Bennett and join with them in a new coalition.

However, if the Bennett-Lapid coalition is actually sworn in, the damage it may do in its potentially short lifespan could be immeasurable.

Professor Yisrael Oman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics said the following: “Bennett and Shaked’s moves are a disaster. I am disappointed,” adding “the distortion of democracy because most of the people voted right. It is very bad that they will form a left-wing government, and that they should trust Abbas and Meretz.”

From security issues to unity issues, the new coalition lacks any real chance to tackle any serious issues because of the amount of different opinions involved. Worse than that – it may even imperil Israel.

So is this the end of Bibi Netanyahu – don’t count on it.

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