If I were to describe the political crisis in Israel in one word, I would choose the word “maze”. If I were to describe it in two words, I would use the phrase “complicated maze.” After all, even after the third election in a year, there does not appear to be a government on the horizon. If one is formed, it will likely be short-lived, and talk of another round of elections has become commonplace. Who would have thought we would be close to a record number of election campaigns? The only thing that might prevent new elections is the current Coronavirus crisis paralyzing the country. Israel is almost in complete lockdown, but the steps that Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken to deal with the crisis have limited us to just 5 fatalities.
If the situation remains under control, the Israeli Prime Minister will come out stronger than ever before, thanks to his opponents’ blatant breach of their election promises. Blue and White, a party made up of three different political factions with the only common denominator being hatred towards Netanyahu, promised that it will not sit with the Joint List – a party that has won 15 parliamentary seats out of 120 and is mostly made up of Arab representatives who wish to hurt the country.
However, immediately after the March 2nd elections, Blue and White’s leaders backtracked on their promise and moreover, one of their leaders who had previously compared the Israeli left to a virus suddenly became a staunch supporter of the idea of partnering with a leftwing party that most of the Israeli public view as terrorist sympathizers. Avigdor Liberman joined Blue and White – a politician that previously hated Arabs changed his tone – as he now hates Netanyahu so much that he is ready to make an alliance with the very people he campaigned to forcibly remove from Israel. It is important to note that these campaigns were while Netanyahu was being politically persecuted by the media and the left—and his trial was scheduled to begin. Despite this, he brought Likud to its greatest achievement in history, not in terms of seats (Likud received 36), but Likud received the highest number of votes ever received by an Israeli party. It turns out that 1,352,449 Israelis feel exactly the same way: that Netanyahu is being persecuted by political has-beens who cannot beat him in an election and are seeking to oust him via undemocratic means.
While the bloc opposed to Netanyahu received 62 Knesset members, three Members of Knesset from the same bloc decided that despite their dislike of Netanyahu, their hatred for the Joint List’s embracement of murders and terrorists is larger. Even though their party leaders decided otherwise, these three Members of Knesset would not give up the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel. Thus, Netanyahu is supported by an unbreakable bloc of 58 Knesset members while his opponents stand at 59 but are completely unable to obtain the majority of 61 that would allow them to form a government.
Sounds complicated? It is. One thing remains certain: at the age of 70, Netanyahu is not ready to give up when he continues to enjoy broad popular support. Netanyahu works 24/7 and manages Israel on several fronts. “I draw strength from the values that my grandfather, father, and mother gave to me. I draw strength from generations of Jews. I draw strength from the Bible, with a great Torah, and my son Avner. I draw on the strength of my faith in the eternity of Israel, and together we can secure this eternity.”
When you hear his words you can understand exactly how he does it.