For the first time in a long time, political support for Benjamin Netanyahu is slipping, and the timing could not be worse. Elections will be held in less than a month and right now, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White party are leading in the polls.
(In Israel, you vote for the party, not the individual.)
To make matters worse, the Prime Minister will be indicted on corruption charges in three separate cases. Israel has never had a sitting Prime Minister under indictment. However, Bibi isn’t backing down and has no plans to resign.
Victory not Assured
He spoke to a crowd of supporters acknowledging that victory is not assured.
“I have to tell you — it’s not guaranteed, it’s not in our pocket, it will not be simple. It will be a hard battle,” he told 300 activists outside Tel Aviv. “We need to win because of our path. We need to win because of our beliefs. We need to win because of the great achievements that have brought Israel to its best situation in its history,” hinting that a new leadership would undo these achievements and only Likud, led by him can lead Israel in the right direction.
He went on to blast his opposition saying that they are leftists disguised as the right wing. Just because they are former Chiefs of Staff (highest position in the Israeli Defense Forces), referring to Gantz, Moshe Ayalon and Avi Ashkenazi, doesn’t mean they on the right. He cited the examples of Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak as former Chiefs of Staff who were disastrous Prime Ministers.
“We’ve been here twice before. In 1992, we got Rabin and ‘Oslo’ (peace treaty with PLO that led to nowhere).” He said Barak brought “the intifada, exploding buses, and over 1,000 fatalities.”
Netanyahu, Tried and Tested
Next, he touted his qualifications. No one has the experience of Bibi. No one has withstood the pressure he has. He claimed that Gantz and Lapid would not have lasted 15 minutes under the pressure of Barack Obama, the most anti-Israel US president since Israel was rebirthed. But he stood up to Obama for eight years. And let’s be honest, Netanyahu opened the eyes of the world to Iran’s evil intention, which included giving an anti-Obama speech in front of the US congress over Iran—something that was unheard of.
Bibi or Tibi
The new talking point of Likud is: Bibi or Tibi. Ahmad Tibi is Arab Muslim Knesset member and harsh critic of Israel. A comedy show last night played a series of videos clips from Likud leaders and each one parroted the Bibi of Tibi line. Their claim is that in order for Gantz to form a coalition he will need left wing parties and Arab’s like Tibi, Gantz denies this and plans to form a center-right coalition.
Blue and White Respond
But the Blue and White responded accusing Netanyahu of “spreading lies and incitement.” He is seeking to:
“divert the conversation from the investigation and the indictment he now faces. Netanyahu knows he’ll be going to trial within a year. He knows his time is up. Instead of worrying about the deteriorating health system, the long lines at the ER, the cost of living, he is only worried about himself,” official from Blue and White shared, “Israel is desperately waiting for moral and responsible leadership that will care about the everyday life of its citizens, and not with speeches riddled with hate.”
It is true, while Bibi has been a rock star on the world’s stage, he has been less effective at home in breaking up monopolies, fixing the health care system and bringing down the cost of housing.
Please pray for God’s will to be done as Israelis go to the polls on April 9th.