Voice of the Jewish News: To Bibi or not to Bibi?

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Voice of the Jewish News: To Bibi or not to Bibi?

That is the question as Israelis go to the polls, again. We reflect on the simple choice facing voters. Do they still want Netanyahu as prime minister?

Jewish News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to cast his ballot during the Israeli elections, at a polling station in Jerusalem. (Photo by: Alex kolomoisky-JINIPIX)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to cast his ballot during the Israeli elections, at a polling station in Jerusalem. (Photo by: Alex kolomoisky-JINIPIX)

Three times in the past two years, Israelis have been asked to pick between two men. Their country’s political kaleidoscope has long been a confusing patchwork of alliances and recriminations, making it difficult to decide which party to vote for. But, in recent years, voters could always boil it down to a simple choice: do you want Bibi or Benny?

This time is different.

That’s because Benny Gantz has fallen from grace quite spectacularly
since he broke an election promise and joined a government led by
Benjamin Netanyahu.

The former Israel Defense Forces chief got to become defence minister and secured an act of parliament that legally named him as the next prime minister, but opinion polls show that voters have abandoned him in droves.

His party, Blue and White, which won a quarter of all votes just a year ago, might not win enough this time to enter the Knesset. So this time, the choice for Israeli voters is over one man: do you want Bibi or not?

Netanyahu’s supporters call him a magician because so often he has conjured victories out of certain defeat. It’s plausible that enough of his allies will do well enough to take him beyond the 61 seats he needs in the Knesset.

It’s equally plausible that a quartet of politicians determined to see his end – Yair Lapid, Gideon Sa’ar, Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman – could strike a deal and assemble the 61 themselves.

Israel’s weary voters will have to weigh between retaining Netanyahu, who comes laden with multiple accusations of fraud and corruption, and a group of men who agree on little else than ending the era of Bibi.

But there’s another possibility out there: that neither side secures the
61 and drags the country to yet another election –a fifth in three years.

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