Analysis

One April Morning, This Man Woke Up and Decided Netanyahu Will Not Be Prime Minister

Throughout Netanyahu's tenure it was impossible to know when it would end, but one thing was certain: The person who would push him out would come from the right

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman arrives to a press conference, March 19, 2019.
Moti Milrod

The insanity that is calling new elections only a month and a half after the previous election requires a crazy motive. Dramatic events often happen as a result of a minor cause. Sometimes they are possible to predict, like an accident, how an impulsive drive can be swept away into an electrifying spin of the type Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman found themselves in.

The truth is that in light of the result it is hard to make do with just this. Even the explanation that says Lieberman is enjoying the moment in which he is the most important person in the politic arena, and for a week everyone was waiting for his every word. Given the frantic result, it would not be an exaggeration to conclude that Lieberman simply decided to finish off Netanyahu. Likud is right. On the morning of April 10, someone woke up and decided that Netanyahu would not form a new government. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, this person was the one who could actually make it happen.

>> Read more: Even Netanyahu knows it’s over | Analysis ■ Netanyahu’s darkest, deepest fear just came true | Opinion ■ Netanyahu just suffered one of the biggest losses of his political career | Analysis 

Throughout all of Netanyahu’s years in office it was impossible to know how long it would last and when it would end. But one thing could be foreseen: the person who would push him out of office would come from the right. Lieberman is a very problematic figure, a total cynic, suspected of crimes and has even been convicted in a plea bargain. Without minimizing the severity of all of this, it is hard to find someone braver than him in politics. Lieberman, in comparison to his rival Netanyahu, went all the way without blinking.

Calling for a repeat of the election is devastating on a number of levels as far as Netanyahu is concerned. Besides his resounding failure to form a government, and the exposure of his true plans to destroy the rule of law in return for escaping justice – there are two revelations that his political rivals will certainly use intensively – one must not forget the legal schedule. A September election, even if Netanyahu wins a large majority that prevents him from repeating the nightmare he just went through, will greatly limit his window of opportunity – even if he does win and manages to form a government – during which he can pass legislation to guarantee his immunity from prosecution.

The ticking clock on Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing set for October is stressing him out, who in any case is now in a battle for his freedom and political future – a battle that means that today every Israeli citizen has been surprised and that their vote a month and a half ago feels like a joke.

By Tormenting Bibi, Lieberman Could Save Israeli DemocracyHaaretz Weekly Ep. 28

The depth of hysteria can be seen in the delusional actions Netanyahu took as the evening progressed – and the drama that unfolded along with it. Among these actions was a bizarre proposal to give four ministries to a party with only six Knesset seats. What’s really weird is that Avi Gabbay seriously considered the proposal, at a time when any political rookie could easily have realized that this was a classic Bibi trap. The proposals also included a blitz of offers for political desertion to the backbenchers of Kahol Lavan and threats against the Haredim, who tied on their part to somehow organize in the face of Lieberman’s iron wall.

Netanyahu could have taken the obvious step in a democratic country that follows the law: to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he failed to form a government. Rivlin had signaled that he intended on honoring the voters’ would give Netanyahu more time to try and form a government.

In the end Netanyahu’s stinginess led him to criminal complications in a long list of cases and his paranoia is now sending him to the electoral battlefield, where his situation is much more problematic than it was before the April elections.