Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to blame political rival Avigdor Liberman for the fact that Israel must endure a second national election this year doesn’t appear to have had the desired effect.
To begin with, recent polls show that Liberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, will almost double in size in the upcoming September 17 election. This is one indication that many right-wingers don’t believe our prime minister’s take on Liberman.
In addition to this quarrel, Netanyahu is hampered by Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit’s decision not to postpone the hearing regarding charges of corruption against the prime minister, which is scheduled for October 2. This means that, assuming Likud again emerges as the largest party, Netanyahu could face criminal charges just weeks after reelection. If that were to happen, Netanyahu would be obligated to declare himself “incapacitated,” and therefore unable perform the critical task of forging a new coalition.
No less alarming for Netanyahu are the voices of leading right-wing opinion-makers, who are now wondering out loud whether Israel’s longest-serving prime minister went a step too…