The American Interest

Bibi’s Reelection Nixes Peace Plan

Early legislative elections in Israel on April 9 have not changed the country’s political landscape. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been reelected for an unprecedented fourth consecutive term and will soon exceed the late David Ben-Gurion’s record of 13 years and four months in office. His Likud with 35 seats will be supported by several religious parties on the right to give him a working majority of 65 in the 120-seat Knesset. This result reflects three important facts of contemporary Israeli politics.

The first is that Netanyahu continues to enjoy a high approval rating, regularly exceeding 50 percent among Jewish voters. Allegations of corruption and breach of trust have not dented his popularity. Benny Gantz, the former chief of Israel’s general staff, and his newly formed blue-and-white centrist alliance have also won 35 seats, but they do not have the coalition-building capacity. At age 59, Gantz is ten years younger than Netanyahu, and at six feet looks like a general from central casting. During the campaign he nevertheless appeared to lack the veteran’s stamina and seemed tired, almost resigned at times. In the end Gantz was unable to challenge Netanyahu’s ability to project himself as the indispensable guardian of Israel’s security in a dangerous world and hostile neighborhood.

President Donald Trump has helped the Israeli leader in that endeavor, by abrogating the nuclear...

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