Tuesday, January 31st | 9 Shevat 5783

January 3, 2019 6:08 am

In Israeli Elections, the Mudslinging Is Only Beginning

× [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

avatar by Mati Tuchfeld / JNS.org


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / File.

JNS.orgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Likud ‎officials’ sharp criticism of former Habayit Hayehudi leader ‎Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked ‎over their decision to split from the religious-‎Zionist faction and form the New Right party is only ‎expected to grow.‎

The two have already been lambasted for making a ‎move that jeopardizes Netanyahu’s chances of forming ‎a stable right-wing coalition following the April ‎‎9 election, assuming that Likud wins, as all the ‎polls currently predict. The mudslinging has a very specific point: to paint ‎Bennett and Shaked into a corner in which they ‎have to endorse Netanyahu as their candidate for ‎prime minister. If and when that happens, Likud will ‎rethink its position on the New Right. ‎

Until they endorse him, Netanyahu is expected to ‎paint the New Right’s leaders as being actually affiliated ‎with the left. This is why he has repeatedly implied ‎that Bennett may rekindle his political alliance ‎with Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid ‎party, something that would essentially clear the way for ‎Bennett to join a left-wing coalition. ‎

The longer that Bennett and Shaked take to endorse ‎Netanyahu, the harder Likud officials will try to ‎undermine their credibility; and if the two announce that ‎they will hold off on endorsing any one candidate ‎until after the elections, Likud will undoubtedly ‎try to paint them as having teamed with Meretz and ‎the Joint Arab List, no less.‎

But if there is something Netanyahu is truly ‎wary of, it’s that Bennett and Shaked’s move may ‎result in one of the current right-wing parties ‎failing to pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold, which ‎may translate into the Israeli Right losing power. ‎

In conversations with close associates, Netanyahu ‎said he plans to run an aggressive election ‎campaign. Likud, which is currently projected to win ‎between 27 and 30 Knesset seats, may go up in the ‎polls, but it would probably be at the expense of ‎other right-wing parties, which come April may find ‎themselves ousted from parliament. ‎

Without them, Netanyahu would struggle to form a ‎coalition, and a scenario where the opposition is ‎able to form a political bloc against him could ‎become a reality.‎

Mati Tuchfeld writes for Israel Hayom.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.