It has been a month since Hamas’s bloody attack on Israel shocked the world with the atrocities, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future is seen as more than precarious.
Indicative of the confusion in which Benjamin Netanyahu, to whom Israel has definitively surrendered its fate since 2009, with a short break, is his message in late October on Twitter (X) when he did not hesitate to accuse Israel’s national security services of underestimating the dangers of a Hamas attack against Israeli territory. And, despite information to the contrary, he claimed that he himself “received no notice” of these risks. The message was deleted, he himself apologized.
The man accused of putting his personal and political future above all else returned on Sunday to say that the protest movement against his judicial reform and the refusal of reservists to report for training in protest may have been a factor in the decision of Hamas to launch the October 7 attack. Israeli media even published statements from the prime minister’s office according to which, after the war there will be an inquiry into the attitude of the israeli reservists and its relation to the attack.
Gantz: Netanyahu avoids responsibility
Minister and member of the close war council Benny Gantz summoned Netanyahu to class, accusing him of shirking his responsibilities and mudslinging in time of war and demanded that he retract. Netanyahu denied making such statements
But the difficulties for Netanyahu had begun long before October 7: since January, on trial in three corruption cases, heading a government that, in order to secure a parliamentary majority, included the most reactionary figures of the Israeli political scene coming from far-right and religious ultra-Orthodox parties, he faced a mass protest movement against his judicial reform aimed at stripping the powers of the judiciary and handing them over to the executive.
The Hamas attack could deal the fatal blow to Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds the record for remaining prime minister. His first term dates back to 1996.
Bibi always appeared as a defender of the Jewish people. The Israelis have been promised to “annihilate” the Palestinian Islamic movement.
Support for Netanyahu has weakened
But in the kibbutzim of southern Israel, which were the first targets of the October 7 massacre, many blame Netanyahu for the lack of protection along the border with the Gaza Strip.
“Support for Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition was already down on October 7 and, since the start of the war, has weakened further,” notes Toby Green, who teaches political science at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University.
“If elections were held now, he would lose by a wide margin.”says.
Bibi is a “brilliant” politician who is currently buying time, according to political scientist Reuven Hazan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“He knows he is fighting for his survival and every decision he makes in this war is aimed at ensuring his own survival.”
The military and intelligence agencies have admitted “failures” in security systems in the Gaza Strip perimeter.
In the interests of national unity, some of his political opponents have joined the war council and are advocating a war against Hamas which, according to the Islamic group that runs Gaza, has killed at least 10,000 people, civilians for the most part.
Amnon Shashua, a popular figure in Israel’s high-tech world and multifaceted businessman, called for the immediate ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling coalition from power, due to “failures and incompetence.”
But, when asked if he will leave, Netanyahu replies: “The only thing I intend to see resign is Hamas».
The prime minister could be forced to resign if he loses his four-seat majority in the Knesset, a majority made up of a political alliance between Netanyahu’s Likud party, far-right parties and ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions.
Observers of the Israeli political scene believe that the showdown is now only a matter of time.
Israel has experienced five electoral contests in less than four years.
Judicial reform being attempted by the Netanyahu government is seen as a threat to Israel’s democracy sparked a months-long protest movement, the largest in the history of the country.
“Israel was on a breakaway,” says Reuven Hazan. “But because of the war, there is no political life anymore. It will come back eventually. And the protesters too,” he predicts.
After the war, the government will have the option of setting up a government commission of inquiry, with lesser powers, or a national commission of inquiry, more independent.
If Netanyahu is found responsible for the failures that allowed the Hamas attack, his fate will be sealed.
The government has warned that the war will last months, while Netanyahu is not required to call elections for three years.
“There are indications that some members of the ruling coalition already know that the lot is over,” says Reuven Hazan.
Polls show centrist Benny Gantz, the minister without portfolio at the War Council, would win comfortably if the election were held today.
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