Netanyahu’s main rival Gideon Saar leaves Likud

Likud member Gideon Saar in Israel in 2019.

Centrifugal winds are shaking the Israeli right, while new legislative elections are announced, the fourth in the country since March 2019. A rebellion erupted on Tuesday, December 8, within the party of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. His main rival in Likud, Gideon Saar, slammed the door by relinquishing his seat as an MP. Criticizing a training that has become “A cult of personality”, Mr Saar promises to defeat his former mentor in the next election: “I can no longer support a government led by Netanyahu (…) Israel needs unity and stability, and Netanyahu cannot provide either. “

This defection is far from the first. In eleven years of continuous rule since 2009, Mr. Netanyahu has systematically eliminated his potential successors within the party. But it comes at a time when the right is shaken and questions the future of its leader. Mr. Netanyahu’s “natural allies” on the far right, which he has historically tried to swallow up, threaten him.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Israel commits to new elections

Since September, Mr. Netanyahu has been followed in the polls by Naftali Bennett, the leader of the ultranationalist and religious formation Yamina, whom he held at the door of his government coalition. For his part, Avigor Lieberman, boss of a small Russian-speaking party, has already deprived the Prime Minister of a right-wing majority in the polls of summer 2019 and March 2020. He has sworn his loss.

These divisions isolate Mr. Netanyahu. They threaten to deprive him of any alternative to the coalition agreement he concluded in May, which in theory requires him to leave the chair of prime minister in November 2021, in favor of his partner, General Benny Gantz ( Center-right). This government is only six months old, but it is already the subject of a motion of censure in the Knesset. Dysfunctional to the point of paralysis, it could erupt in the coming weeks, if it fails to vote a budget for 2021.

Pure product of Likud

Mr. Netanyahu will think twice before consummating this break. He can be satisfied with having used the alternative embodied for a time by Mr. Gantz for the left and the center. But this emptiness whets the appetites on his right. Mr. Netanyahu would have the greatest difficulty in uniting his camp in new elections, which could take place as early as March or in the summer. Such a failure would deprive him of the opportunity to pass an immunity law in the Knesset that would freeze his trial for corruption, whose hearings are due to begin in February.

You have 40.74% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here