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The end of an era: Goodbye to Netanyahu

The above headline is not mine. It comes from a Times of Israel blog opinion piece by Ilan Bloch, a licensed Israel tour guide and teacher, and was published on June 23, 2021.

Don’t fret, you have not misread the date. June, 2021.

As a teaser, the opening paragraph is reproduced below:

Last week we bade farewell (and some might say good riddance!) to our longest-serving prime minister. Dubbed “King Bibi,” “Israel’s magician,” and “Mr. Security” by many pundits, I want to take a moment to examine this last epithet. For some reason, there is less than the usual Israeli lack of accountability when examining Netanyahu’s record. I simply do not understand why people, who understand cause and effect when it comes to analyzing the policies of Shamir, Rabin, Barak, Sharon, and Olmert, somehow ignore any hint of causality when it comes to Netanyahu’s policies. Suddenly, when violence erupts, it is considered a force majeure, and some even express relief that Netanyahu, rather than a “weak left,” is in charge at such a time.

The following is an English translation of an article that was originally published in Hebrew in the Haaretz newspaper, on October 17, 2023.

It should be noted that this is a ‘quick and dirty’ machine translation which I have not proofed. Even so, the English text speaks for itself.

In Likud, they have finished defending Netanyahu." At the end of the war, he should go."

Conversations with party members reveal unanimity regarding the prime minister's responsibility for the war.

"He who thinks he will be able to escape responsibility for the most terrible failure of the state is making a bitter mistake," said a Likud minister, "He who tries to escape responsibility only makes his situation worse."

In the last few days, voices have been heard in the Likud that make it clear that Binyamin Netanyahu's path as Prime Minister and the party is nearing its end.

"The Likud territory knows that Netanyahu is finished. Right now it's like a volcano, and the lava is getting hotter," said a senior member of the party".

There is great anger at Netanyahu. Mainly at his perceptions over the years, very cowardly perceptions for which he chose to postpone the end, and to avoid actions such as the occupation of the Strip, its demilitarization, and transfer to the Palestinian Authority.

Now we are paying tenfold.

"There is also anger at Netanyahu's dependence on people like Itamar Ben Gavir and his nonsense," the official added.

"The boycott of Netanyahu led us to establish an extreme right-wing government that created a rift in the nation, and from which large parts of the population — the taxpayers and those serving in the army — were excluded.

All the extremists in Likud — Dudu Amsalem, Galit Distel-Atbaryan, Tali Gottlieb, May Golan, and Shlomo Karai — have finished their stay in the party.

The Likud territory is today in a place where it abhors extremism and extremists.

“It is doubtful whether the others will have a revival, but at the moment no one is dealing with it," said the senior official.

And he is not the only one.

"Whoever thinks that he will be able to escape responsibility for the most terrible failure on the part of the state is making a bitter mistake," said another person, a minister from the party.

"The government's rule was decided on October 7, and Likud's judgment was decided on that Black Sabbath. What was will not be."

Regarding the fact that Netanyahu has not yet accepted responsibility for his part in the failure, the minister said: "Those who try to evade responsibility only make their situation worse. There is a holy rage in the Israeli public that wasn't here even after the Yom Kippur war."

Their words reflect the rapid disillusionment that is passing through the Likud territory. The ones who until a week ago were still defending Netanyahu, and who in part adopted the narrative of the sole blame of the security bodies for the terrible disaster of October 7.

No More.

Today it is almost impossible to find defenders of the prime minister in Likud - in all its wings and shades.

Activists who are not connected to Netanyahu's office and his family are no longer ready to defend him, even if everyone agrees that a time of war is not the time to depose him.

"We are now at war, and changing horses - both at the political level and the military level - will do more harm than good," said a prominent Likud central committee member, "but the atmosphere in all Likud groups is that at the end of the war, Netanyahu should go, along with everyone who was involved in the conception, that it is possible to contain Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Authority. And they will all go. They will all pay. But this is not the time, now is the time to win the war."

Another official in the government agrees with the assumption that Netanyahu's career is over.

"What stands out right now is the tension between the prime minister and the defense minister, Yoav Galant," he added.

"This tension is going backward, all of us after all, you know the past, and it also goes forward to the question of who is responsible for the failure. It is not impossible that Gallant will have the upper hand because he is more active than Netanyahu. The war could take a year, and even during it, it won't be easy for Netanyahu to survive, although at the moment I don't see a scenario of impeachment. But when it ends, there is no doubt at all that he will have to go."

An interesting issue on which there is no blanket agreement in Likud is the question of the responsibility of the Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin.

There are many who absolve him of responsibility and claim that it was not the court reform laws that led to the weakening of the army and the rift in the nation. "It is clear to everyone that the reform is dead, and no more laws will be passed on any subject without broad agreement," emphasized a senior member of the party.

The representatives of the minority hostile to Levin within the Likud, those who warned earlier about the danger posed by the small and extreme camp that the Minister of Justice established in the movement and who see him as responsible for the situation, predict that he is also will use the situation to his advantage. "Levin dug holes for Netanyahu," said another Likud official. "He wanted to pass a reform, but not a legal reform - but a reform to topple Netanyahu. He will also blame Netanyahu for everything that happened."


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