When Benjamin Netanyahu walked in at 4 am on the night of the primaries, the loudspeakers were blaring the Likud jingle: “The Likud is the heart.” That was the moment where Netanyahu was perhaps saying to himself: My work is going down the drain and you’re singing?
Up until this week, the Likud leader made almost no mistake, while confidently leading his party to what appeared to be an assured election victory. Yet the day of the primaries disrupted all his plans, and even if he becomes prime minister it will not be the same. His government will face the objection of the whole wide world.
The decision on the top 30 names in the Likud’s Knesset list was not in Bibi’s hands, yet he had the opportunity to affect it. He even tried to do it while seeking to remove figures deemed as too rightist from the list, yet his intense efforts prompted others to back those rightists, as if seeking to tell him: You already proved to us that you are a centrist, and the free-riders you brought over to the party (Dan Meridor, Uzi Dayan, and others) are meant to reinforce your way – so we shall post rightist guards to keep an eye on you.
The result is that about half of the expected Likud Knesset members, at least based on their current views, will not allow Bibi to engage in a diplomatic process. They still believe in the IDF’s ability to conquer the world.
This is a critical matter. For the first time in its history, the State of Israel faces an existential threat – the Iranian nuclear program and the dangers on the north (Hizbullah) and south (Hamas.) In the United States, meanwhile, we will soon see a new Administration that would seek to present huge achievements, at Israel’s expense too. And the world views us as the reason for all its troubles.
At this time, we must attempt to embark on any possible diplomatic process, and perhaps see the three major parties in Israel joining forces and establishing a unity government. However, as of the night of the primaries, with such a rightist Likud, bordering on radicalism, this appears to be an almost impossible mission.
Another two months are left to the elections. Kadima and Labor can hit hard, aiming at the soft underbelly of Likud, whose leaders dreamed of being positioned at Right-Center, yet were pushed deep into the Right.
Indeed, the election campaign has not yet been decided.