Israel goes to the polls five months later in elections that once again become a referendum around the figure of Benjamin Netanyahu. The acting prime minister seeks to get rid of the failure of April, when he won the elections very tightly, but was unable to forge alliances that would allow him to overcome the 61 seats needed to form a government. The support of ultranationalists and religious was not enough.
Surveys indicate that the picture may be similar and throw a new tie between the Likud and the 'Blue and White' coalition, led by former Army chief Benny Gantz, so everything would be back in the air at the expense of the ability of each other to forge alliances. In this phase, the role of parties such as Yisrael Beitenu, of the former Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, can again be key and this puts at risk the political survival of Netanyahu, since it was the Moldovan politician who left him without Government in April.
The acting prime minister wants to win to fulfill a fifth term. At 69, he has already succeeded in surpassing David Ben Gurion as prime minister with more time in office and his goal is to remain in office. His campaign has been based on his ability to keep the country safe from the threat of Iran throughout the region, on his good personal and political relations with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, whom he visited last week, and, in the final stretch , in his promises to strengthen the occupation.
They are the seats that must be overcome to form a government. In April, Netanyahu won the elections by little and failed to forge alliances.
- Your best asset.
He says he will strengthen the occupation and boasts of his good relations with Trump and Putin
In Israel there is no day of reflection and Netanyahu took advantage of the eve of the elections to announce "the annexation of Kiryat Arba and the Jewish community of Hebron", another step in an annexation strategy that also extended to the Jordan Valley, "but I need the mandate to execute this plan, ”recalled the leader of the Likud, who was also very active in social networks throughout the day.
His words are orders in places in Jerusalem such as the market of Mahane Yehuda, the most important of the holy city and a conservative stronghold. «'Bibi' (affectionate way to refer to Netanyahu) is a good prime minister, the economy is fine, security is fine, all moderate Arab countries are with us, 'Bibi' meets whenever he wants with Trump and goes to Putin whenever he wants, Bibi is good for Israel, ”says Abraham Levy, one of the mythical fruit boxes in the souk, whose shop is unmistakable because of the black and white portrait of former Likud Prime Minister Menahen Begin on his main wall.
Moshe Fadida, a 53-year-old Moroccan-born Jew who sells spices, opines similarly and highlights "the enormous capacity of 'Bibi' to bring Arab countries together with Israel against our common enemy: Iran. Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates now rely more on our fighters than on the United States ». Fadida has placed a large photo of the politician next to a Moroccan flag and encourages his buyers to vote Likud.
Fenced by Justice
In the streets of the souk you can not hear about the corruption cases that cloud the political future of Netanyahu. The country's attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, announced on February 28 his intention to charge him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases, and the hearings could begin within a month. The leader of the Likud is being investigated in those known as case 1000, 2000 and 4000.
Corruption is the main resource used by the opposition to attack the prime minister and Gantz has earned the nickname 'Clean Mister', for his reputation as being a straight person. “Under my government, the 'Blue and White' party will change the direction of the Israeli state's helm towards more democracy. The divisions to reign are over; on the contrary, quick actions will be taken to form a union government, ”said the former head of the Army, who said he wanted to lead the country in“ the interest of all Israelis ”and“ not of pressure groups ”.
Above the programmatic differences in key issues such as occupation, it is the personal differences between politicians that direct the meaning of the vote. Netanyahu yes or Netanyahu no, that's the question.
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