“Former PM is an outspoken critic of Netanyahu, with many believing he may be setting the stage for a return to politics”
There is much taking place politically in the State of Israel that could force new elections sooner than those scheduled towards the end of 2019.
PM Netanyahu dodged a bullet recently when now former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beteinu Party) resigned his position following the government’s decision not to more vigorously attack Hamas in Gaza. Naftali Bennett (Bayit HaYehudi Party) threatened to resign as well but backpedaled and then subsequently confessed that Bibi had humiliated him.
This article in The Times of Israel (link below) tells of an effort by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak to form a center-left political coalition (possibly led by Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid Party, Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union-Labor Party, Ehud Barak of the Atzmaut-Independence Party, and Moshe Ya’alon formerly of the Likud Party) that could challenge the extreme right-wing-ultra-Orthodox coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The only political party that could stand up currently against Bibi’s Likud is Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party, but he cannot succeed in toppling Netanyahu alone according to polling. Tzipi Livni is rising in popularity as the leader of a vastly weakened Zionist Union because of the clarity of her values about Israel’s vision as a Jewish and democratic state and her position of support for a two-states solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but she too is not strong enough to challenge the PM alone. Only a coalition of parties running together can succeed.
The only thing stopping the formation of an effective coalition of the middle-left is the desire of each leader to lead the next government as Prime Minister. Perhaps now is the time when they decide to put country ahead of personal ambition and decide who has the best chance of success as the leader of the coalition.
After ten years of rule by PM Netanyahu, the ongoing expansion of the settlement enterprise, a non-existence peace process, and the Prime Minister’s refusal to stand up to the ultra-religious parties, this may be the time when a popular political middle-left of the country comes together for the sake of the country’s future.
There is a serious effort by former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to re-enfranchise 200,000 non-voting Israelis who have thrown up their hands in disgust and concluded that the Israeli parliamentary electoral process is so tilted towards the extreme right that their votes don’t matter.
As we in America have learned, when people actually vote, change can occur.
Bribery corruption charges against the Prime Minister are about to be filed by Attorney General Mandelblit. There is a possibility that Netanyahu will be forced to resign his position or be so weakened politically that a strong middle-left coalition can defeat him at the polls.
Though PM Netanyahu is as smart and wily a political figure as Israel has ever known, nothing is forever and this may be the opportunity those who oppose his extreme right-wing nationalist government have been waiting for.