Channels
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Netanyahu. Playing poker
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Netanyahu may want to call elections, but he can’t really do it
Analysis: The prime minister knows very well that an attempt to drag Israel to early elections could cost him the premiership, and so—at the end of the day—he won’t act on his threat.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing poker. When he comes to his senses and puts his feelings aside, he too will realize that he doesn't have a winning hand. Netanyahu may want to go to elections, for his own reasons, but one can only go to elections with those one is planning to form the next government with.

 

 

Since the 2015 elections, Netanyahu has been walking around with excessive self-confidence. But in real life, he can't go to elections when Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, Shas leader Aryeh Deri and United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman—who have no better government—and 75 percent of the Likud members don’t want it. He can't go to elections, and if he does—Netanyahu would essentially be giving away the premiership.

 

If Netanyahu goes to elections in the current climate, he could find himself without a coalition the day after the vote. The Likud's miracle of getting 30 seats in the Knesset will likely not repeat itself, and worse—Kahlon will not forgive him. According to Deri’s hints, neither will he. It’s safe to assume that others won’t either. There is no need to elaborate on Bennett’s political aspirations.

 

Netanyahu and Kahlon. Empty threats (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky) (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Netanyahu and Kahlon. Empty threats (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

If Netanyahu goes to elections in the current climate, he could find himself without a coalition the day after the vote. The Likud's miracle of getting 30 seats in the Knesset will likely not repeat itself, and worse—Kahlon will not forgive him. According to Deri’s hints, neither will he. It’s safe to assume that others won’t either. There is no need to elaborate on Bennett’s political aspirations.

 

When former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni tried to put together a government before the 2009 elections, Netanyahu formed his own government behind the scenes. In 2013, there was no real threat to his government, and in 2015, he dissolved the government and called elections only when he knew that he had a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties ready for the day after.

 

This is how Netanyahu works, by staying on the safe side. It is also one of the reasons why he is the best politician we have had here in the past 20 years. Netanyahu works that way because he knows that alliances are the most important thing in politics. Because of the way he fired Yair Lapid in 2014, the Yesh Atid leader will never be part of his government again. If he breaks up with Kahlon in a similar manner, he knows that Kahlon won’t forgive him. That is something he can’t afford.

 

Litzman and Deri. Don’t have a better government (Photos: Alex Kolomoisky, Marc Israel Sellem)
Litzman and Deri. Don’t have a better government (Photos: Alex Kolomoisky, Marc Israel Sellem)

 

This is how Netanyahu works, by staying on the safe side. It is also one of the reasons why he is the best politician we have had here in the past 20 years. Netanyahu works that way because he knows that alliances are the most important thing in politics. Because of the way he fired Yair Lapid in 2014, the Yesh Atid leader will never be part of his government again. If he breaks up with Kahlon in a similar manner, he knows that Kahlon won’t forgive him. That is something he can’t afford.

 

That is not the only trouble. Despite the denials, and even though this scenario seems far-fetched and flimsy—and even imaginary—we must not rule out the possibility of an alternative government being established in the current Knesset without Netanyahu. The overwhelming majority of Knesset members won’t make it easy to go to elections. Such a move could also include lawmakers from the Likud, who are afraid they won’t return to the Knesset for another term after elections.

  

The bottom line is that Netanyahu may want to call elections, but he can’t really do it.

 

 new comment
See all talkbacks "Netanyahu may want to call elections, but he can’t really do it"
Warning:
This will delete your current comment