June 14, 2024

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers an speech at his Jerusalem office on March 14, 2020, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the Corona virus in Israel. - Netanyahu said Israel would shut down eateries, shopping centres and gyms in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus. Netanyahu also said he would ask the government's approval in the upcoming cabinet meeting set to be held via video conference to allow "technologies used in the war against terror" to be used to track the movements of Israelis with coronavirus. (Photo by GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP)

Netanyahu can lose power in the blink of an eye

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There were two messages from the wink: That the effort to end Netanyahu’s career has many co-conspirators and that Netanyahu can no longer afford to waste any time.

New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar was caught on camera winking from behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s back during Monday night’s votes on the proposed makeup of the Knesset’s powerful Arrangements Committee, which runs the parliament until a government is formed.

He was clearly winking at one of the ministers sitting near Netanyahu. But Sa’ar’s associates politely declined to reveal the recipient of the wink, and Finance Minister Israel Katz vehemently denied a report that it was him.

t is possible that Sa’ar will reveal the intended wink recipient after he completes his goal of unseating Netanyahu, or perhaps it will never be known.

There were two messages to be taken from the wink.

One: The effort to end Netanyahu’s career has many co-conspirators; Two: Netanyahu can no longer afford to waste any time because he could lose power in the blink or wink of an eye.

Netanyahu devoted his time and energy on Monday to Yamina leader Naftali Bennett: first to meet with him and beg for his support in Monday’s key votes, then to disparage him to the Likud and United Torah Judaism factions – and then to reach a deal with him about the votes.

Had Netanyahu devoted equal time and effort to the other political kingmaker, Ra’am (United Arab List) leader Mansour Abbas, he might not have lost Monday’s votes and control over the committees in the Knesset.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, by contrast, held a high-profile meeting with Abbas and met with all the other leaders of the parties in the “change camp” on Monday. He has internalized Abbas’s desire to hold the balance of power and use it to help his constituency.

Following his success in the votes, Lapid was seen in the Knesset corridor laughing with Ra’am MK Saeed Alharomi, who is not a household name or well-known face in the Knesset. That Lapid has made a point of getting to know the No. 4 candidate in Ra’am shows he did his homework.

“They are taking us to school,” Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked was caught on camera complaining to Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar (Likud).

Shaked, who is the main force in Yamina aiming to join a Netanyahu-led coalition, did not hide her disappointment at the results of the votes. She blames Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich’s refusal to compromise for preventing Netanyahu from building a government in which she would have likely been the foreign minister.

Netanyahu told confidants late Monday night that he, too, blamed Smotrich. Had Smotrich not been so nasty in his attacks on Abbas, he told them, he might not have pushed him away towards the rival camp.

Had the Likud won Monday’s votes, Netanyahu could have used the Arrangements Committee to pass a bill for direct elections for prime minister or other creative ideas his associates said were still up his sleeve.

Now, it will be even harder for Netanyahu to find a way to remain in power.

He will have to have his eyes open, watching from behind his back, and also keep his eyes peeled, looking straight ahead of him during the final two weeks of his mandate to form a government.

If not, the back view through the rear window will be all that Netanyahu will see, following what could be the end of his political career.


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