Netanyahu Can Topple the Bennett-Lapid Government, By Quitting Politics

When Netanyahu didn’t take a plea bargain requiring him to retire, Israel’s current government “breathed a sigh of relief”

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Benjamin Netanyahu
It's in his hands. If Netanyahu is ready to step down, he'll also bring down the current government, which he says is a danger to Israel. 
It's in his hands. If Netanyahu is ready to step down, he'll also bring down the current government, which he says is a danger to Israel.  Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

If opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu really wants to topple Israel’s nascent “government of change,” he can do so easily…by himself retiring from politics.

That according to former Justice Minister Haim Ramon in remarks to Israel Radio last week.

Indeed, the current disparate government, which consists of far-left, centrist, religious right and even Islamist parties, is held together almost exclusively by its disdain for and desire to keep Bibi from ever again assuming power.

If Netanyahu were to leave the political scene, it likely wouldn’t be long before internal disputes over policy and ideology resulted in the government’s downfall.

And late last month, it appeared that Bibi might indeed quit politics, at least temporarily, as part of a plea bargain in his ongoing corruption trial. When that didn’t happen, Ramon says that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “breathed a sigh of relief heard throughout the Tel Aviv area.”

Ramon explained that “so long as Benjamin Netanyahu is on the political playing field, that’s the glue holding this government together. Netanyahu supports them by his very presence. …When there were rumors of his leaving, the cracks in the government became apparent.”

Netanyahu has made very clear that his primarily goal is to bring down what he sees as an “illegitimate” Bennett-Lapid government by any means.

Ramon says he could make that happen, and fast: “Netanyahu could announce that he is retiring and thus undermine the government, regardless of whether there is a plea bargain or not. That is the correct thing for him to do politically, to take a break, to allow someone else from the Likud to be a candidate for prime minister. I am convinced that within three months the Bennett-Lapid government would collapse.”

Of course, Netanyahu has also vowed that he himself will return to power once the current government falls, so don’t expect him to take Ramon’s advice anytime soon.

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