With elections less than three months away, Israel is awash with political posturing, rumour-spreading and deal-making, as hardliners seek to challenge the prime minister while ex-colleagues form parties and declare an intention to run.
As with last years’ ballot, right-wingers are once again expected to emerge as victors in the race to run Israel, with former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon confirming that week that he will contest the election.
Kahlon, who held the post of Communications Minister, is already being touted as kingmaker in the 20th Knesset, as 19-seat Yesh Atid is expected to slip away following leader Yair Lapid’s unpopular reign as Foreign Minister.
Elsewhere, Gideon Saar, a hard-line former Education and Interior Minister, is set to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Likud party leadership contest next month.
And while most commentators suggest that the PM will emerge heading next year’s new government, some analysts say Netanyahu’s time may be up.
“They don’t trust him, they think he’s tired, they think he’s staying in power without vision,” says Sam Lehman-Wilzig, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University.
Meanwhile Tzipi Livni, the leader of six-seat Hatnua party, has said she is working on a tie-up with opposition leader Issac Herzog, who heads Labor party.
“We must join forces and create a situation where there is energy and hope,” she said. “Once there is hope we can replace Netanyahu. It will happen.”