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Netanyahu-Gantz government collapses, Israel headed to 4th election in 2 years

Netanyahu-Gantz government collapses, Israel headed to 4th election in 2 years

“nobody should bet against the shrewd, wily Netanyahu sailing onward” to winning Round 4 on March 23, 2021.

It’s not like I told you so, but I told you so.

Remember back to March 2020, when Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu of the Likud/’right-wing’ coalition struck a power-sharing deal with former Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the Blue-and-White party? It was an effort to avoid a fourth round of elections, with the prior two rounds having resulted in a stalemate, with no one able to put together a majority coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

Part of the deal was that Netanyahu was going to relinquish the Prime Ministership to Gantz in September 2021.

And I suggested only someone totally naive thought that would ever happen?

So will Netanyahu actually step aside in September 2021?

If you said Yes, you must be new around here.

And so it has come to pass, the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition has collapsed. The Jerusalem Post reports:

The Knesset dissolved automatically at midnight Tuesday night, setting a March 23 date for elections amid mutual recriminations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu and Gantz blamed each other for not finding a way to keep their government going. Likud and Blue and White had reached an agreement to extend the deadline for passing the state budget and preventing early elections. But Gantz issued new demands, and then rebels in both parties prevented the bill from passing in dramatic fashion.

“It is no secret that the Likud and I did not want to go to elections,” Netanyahu said in a Knesset press conference. “Israel is going to elections due to internal fights in Blue and White.”

Netanyahu said he had agreed to the rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office before Blue and White reneged on their deal.

Blue and White responded by shifting the blame to Netanyahu, saying: “A man under three indictments is dragging Israel to elections for a fourth time. If there was no trial, there would be a budget and no elections.”

David Horovitz, Editor-in-Chief of The Times of Israel, basically says “there he goes again” as to Netanyahu:

Benny Gantz jettisoned most of his Blue and White alliance — horrifying Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem factions, and sending them fuming into the opposition — when he agreed to partner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an “emergency” coalition after March 2020’s inconclusive vote. Blue and White, which won 33 seats in that election, has hemorrhaged support ever since, as Netanyahu maneuvered to ensure that Gantz would never get his hands on the premiership, despite their “rotation” agreement, humiliated Gantz by repeatedly keeping him in the dark as the Trump administration brokered a series of Israel-Arab normalization agreements, and reduced Gantz to frustrated observer status in the ongoing battle against COVID-19….

But if Gantz is all but finished, what of Netanyahu, who outwitted him every step of the way and clung on at the Prime Minister’s Office after those last three elections, at times by the skin of his teeth?

On the face of it, his position is much improved. The main threat to his continued rule, the Blue and White alliance that came so close to prising him from power, has collapsed. The Israel right, his part of the political spectrum, is ascendant; the next Knesset looks set to be the most right-wing in Israeli history. And his two most reliable political partners, the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, stuck with him through thick and thin, and insist that they will continue to do so…

But if his rival-ally-rival Gantz now looks doomed — in what is a simply astounding fall, barely nine months after he was recommended as prime minister by most of the Knesset — nobody should bet against the shrewd, wily Netanyahu sailing onward.

Some more on what’s to come from veteran Israeli correspondent Barak Ravid, writing for Axios:

The big picture: The government collapse comes amid a dramatic deterioration in Gantz’s political standing and a decline in Netanyahu’s favorability. It also follows the establishment of a new right-wing party headed by a Netanyahu critic, Gideon Saar, which could change Israel’s political map.

What’s next: The elections will take place on Mar. 23.

  • The latest polls show Gantz’s party barely above the electoral threshold, with five seats. If that trend continues Gantz might drop out of the race.
  • Netanyahu will try to regain public support by focusing his campaign on the COVID-19 vaccine, Israel’s recent normalization agreements with the Arab world, and his opposition to any new deal with Iran.
  • Saar is the political star of the moment. He will try to establish himself as the only alternative to Netanyahu in hopes of rallying a broad swathe of voters who want to see Netanyahu removed from office.

Who’s betting against Bibi in Round 4? Any takers?


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Mr. Sa’ar is a center-right politician who at one point apparently was considered a successor to Mr. Netanyahu in Likud and challenged unsuccessfully for the leadership last year. Mr. Sa’ar believes that a two-state solution is a mistake and would be happy to annex most of the West Bank.

He’s formed a new party, New Hope. It makes sense that the best challenge to Benny would come from the right, not the left. The left just isn’t able to get over the hope as long as it unites the right around Netanyahu. The only way to beat Benny is to strip his support away and that means coming at him from the center-right. We’ll see what happens.

Re Video of the Day:

The Cowsills were originally from your Rhode Island, Professor.

However, in the fall of 1967 or 1968 they moved to Santa Monica and lived a few doors down from us.

The first Halloween they lived on our block they gave out their album “We Can Fly” to trick or treaters.

The next summer Susie Cowsill was my girlfriend for a few weeks. But she was always busy with the family’s music career.

I remember watching the family rehearse in their garage.

Many years later when I was working one summer with a landscape construction firm while pursuing my landscape architecture degree, we landscaped the house for the new owner … Peter Norton of Norton anti-virus fame.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 22, 2020 at 9:28 pm

I wish we could’ve found viable political parties as easily as the Israelis do.

    It isn’t all that hard to do – if you have a parliamentary system of government.

      Milhouse in reply to Edward. | December 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      A parliamentary system doesn’t help; the UK and Canada have those but not the ease of forming new parties. What helps is proportional representation. But it’s still not that easy, as the many casualties of the last three elections will tell you. The *first* election would have produced a stable right-wing government if only two right-wing parties had not fallen just short of the 3.5% minimum, thus letting 7% of the vote get thrown in the garbage.

        mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | December 23, 2020 at 4:29 pm

        With respect to your comments on the UK that’s somewhat correct. Although it’s complicated by devolution. There are in fact a number of smaller parties now but the only realistic prospect of a national government is either Tory or Labour. That said the Scottish nationalist sentiment means that the Scottish government is neither nor is there a prospect of that happening in the near future. A few years back there was a theoretical possibility of a rainbow coalition but the numbers never planned out.

          Milhouse in reply to mark311. | December 23, 2020 at 5:27 pm

          Yes, the small parties in the UK are regional parties; they’re small overall, but huge in their tiny region. The same thing would work here; if you could found a “Maine Party” that would get 50% of the vote in Maine and nothing anywhere else, it could get representation in Congress.

          mark311 in reply to mark311. | December 24, 2020 at 5:46 pm


          Not exclusively regional. The Green party, lib Dems and monster raving loony party aren’t. But yes mostly you are correct.

          Interesting thought having regional US parties, makes you wonder why there isn’t a Texan party for all there talk of leaving the union.

      Milhouse in reply to Edward. | December 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      Indeed, the Oslo disaster that has been Israel’s biggest problem for the last 27 years would never have happened if several new right-wing parties hadn’t eaten away at Tehiya’s votes, leaving it just short of the (then) 1.5% minimum and thus leaving the right two seats short of a majority. If Tehiya had got their votes it would have had two seats, and another Shamir government would have kept Israel safe, and Arafat would have had to stay in Tunisia.

I wonder if they use Dominion and Smartmatic…

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | December 23, 2020 at 12:39 am

God bless and help Israel.

The greatest existential threat to Israel is its leftists. Just look at the former America.

So what’s the actual low down? Would this other party actually be bad for Israel or not??

    RoyalWulff55 in reply to mailman. | December 23, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Like most countries, Israel’s internal threat comes from the Left.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to RoyalWulff55. | December 23, 2020 at 7:31 am

      ” “A man under three indictments is dragging Israel to elections for a fourth time. If there was no trial, there would be a budget and no elections.”

      Sounds like TDS.

      Also, I think they should annex and drive those squatters out.

      Arabs in Palestine should be given their own state, on a flotilla of old ships, lashed together and far enough from land in every direction that they will be unlikely to bother anyone.

        Netanyahu’s three “indictments” are indeed BS that would be extremely unlikely to happen here. They’re much like the fake charges that briefly brought Tom DeLay down.

        (“Indictment” in Israel doesn’t mean a neutral party found a prima facie case. It just means the prosecution decided to press charges.)

        Camp of the Saints?