Israeli citizens went to the polls this week to vote in an election that long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoped would give him and his Likud party a governing mandate. However, the election resulted in no party securing enough seats in parliament to form a government.
Uriel Abulof, visiting professor at Cornell University’s Government Department and senior lecturer of politics at Tel-Aviv University, says that the election is an indication that Netanyahu’s political strategy did not pay off and may have cost him his leadership role.
“A self-proclaimed Americanist, Netanyahu opted for a jury over judge. Bibi solicited, for the second time in just six months, an acquittal by the people – and fell short.
“The result: Netanyahu, the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history, will likely soon lose his ‘precious’ – the PM residency – to wander the corridors of courts.
“Like many before him, Bibi yielded to the myopia of lone leaders. Believing the flatteries of his fans, that he is ‘above it all,’ Bibi’s spineless spins begun to boomerang. In particular, denouncing Arab citizens as disloyal and deceitful, bent on election fraud, brought them to the ballots in larger numbers.
“Still, the key question remains: Will the Israeli public and politicians, not least Likud party members, finally do away with the ‘no choice’ culture that Netanyahu so skillfully cultivated? If so, Israel may pave the path of hope for other societies engulfed in ultra-nationalist, anti-liberal, politics.”