While Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to stay in power for this stage, corruption fees along with also his repeated failure to make a secure and trustworthy coalition government appeared to indicate the end of his reign.
However, the newly erupted conflict with the Palestinians could have opened yet another path for Netanyahu and his quest to stay Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, analysts say.
The Israeli leader and his Likud party failed to form a governing coalition and President Reuven Rivlin has tasked resistance leader Yair Lapid to form a government of his own.
Even before the election, Netanyahu lost the support of the Israeli people for various reasons, based on Micheline Ishay, director of the human rights programme at the University of Denver.
Likud dropped from 36 seats in March 2020 to 30 in March 2021,” Ishay told Al Jazeera. “Netanyahu’s persistent efforts to avoid prosecution, the split of right-wing parties, and also a lingering pandemic have contributed to widespread disenchantment.”
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But the conflict with the Palestinians has diminished public resentment against Netanyahu, she added.
“His popularity will definitely rise among several citizens as a consequence of this escalation with Gaza. Under fire and in war situations, people tend to rally supporting the present government, fearing both rockets and internal dangers. In this sense the present catastrophe is strengthening Netanyahu’s political designs,” Ishay said.
Nonetheless, Ishay stated she does not believe that Netanyahu supported the battle out of political calculation, despite the apparent connection to violence against the Palestinians.
“Netanyahu allowed, even hammered, national provocations through the Kahanists in Jerusalem, the projected confiscation of Arab land in Sheikh Jarrah, the fencing from the Damascus Gate through Ramadan, and also the police action at Al-Aqsa.
“However, it’s unclear that he would have anticipated, let alone wished for, the response from Hamas. Regardless of objective, the warfare rewards both Hamas and the Likud, at least in the short term,” Ishay added.
But, it isn’t only public understanding that the battle may have shifted in Netanyahu’s favour over these past days.
For one, a broad coalition against Netanyahu, as Yesh Atid had hoped for, became more unsure than once Naftali Bennett said his Yamina celebration would stop talks with Lapid and find a broader unity government with Netanyahu and Likud instead. It was in the nation’s interest in times of crisis, Bennett opined.
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The abrupt understanding between Netanyahu and Bennett can come as a surprise however make sense politically.
In the end, Netanyahu and Bennett share an ideology, and the two had advocated for its unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank, Ishay stated, while the consequences are beneficial for the prime minister.
“By prioritizing his perceptions of federal threats over his political differences with Netanyahu, Bennett could revive the Likud coalition and significantly weaken any anti-Netanyahu bloc,” explained Ishay.