The aphorism goes, “A week is a long time in politics.” And if we’re talking about the Israeli elections of next Tuesday, that could prove true. With the aid of smaller parties, incumbent Likud Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is the likely candidate to be able to form a government after this parliamentary competition. But coming up in his rear-view mirror is former General Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, and Gantz may get closer in the less than a week that is left. Key word being “may.”
Netanyahu, running under the cloud of a bribery scandal, has held on to a small lead. This as Gantz tries to put distance between himself and the PM on corruption and social issues. But when you’re getting rocket attacks on major cities on a regular basis, national security becomes front and center. On that, advantage Bibi. Though the general is no complete slouch either. Think of it, the choice for the top job there is between a hard conservative and a center right conservative.
The PM has even used his great relationship with President Trump as campaign media, erecting massive posters on the sides of buildings showing the two leaders together. In this he seems to have a slightly different view of the president compared to his American coreligionists.
On this electoral decision rests U.S. negotiations in the area and U.S. security concerns across the region. Though they could never publicly say it, the Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians are fervently imploring Allah for a Netanyahu victory. This keeps the de facto alliance against Iran in firm place and ensures stability in Israeli relations with the three U.S. allies.
So, we’ll keep watch and report back next week. Until then on this subject, shalom.