Opinion | Oct. 7 Shattered Netanyahu’s Legacy. The War Saved Him — for Now.


Mr. Gantz, one of many few Israeli leaders who may unseat Mr. Netanyahu, has remained within the emergency conflict coalition not solely due to his persevering with help for the conflict but additionally to behave as a counterweight to Mr. Netanyahu’s extremist coalition companions. But, in consequence, Mr. Gantz’s celebration has lent each stability and a veneer of cross-partisan legitimacy to Mr. Netanyahu’s unruly, hard-right coalition. If Mr. Gantz started his political profession to problem Mr. Netanyahu, he and his celebration have now grow to be the prime minister’s political lifeline.

Nonetheless, with or with out the fig leaf of unity that Mr. Gantz supplies, Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition is unstable. The best menace to its continuity is the looming disaster over army draft exemptions for Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox spiritual males, which may divide the ruling coalition between its hawks, who want to see them drafted, and essentially the most spiritual rabbis, who view obligatory service for males locally as a disruption to their lifestyle.

Mr. Netanyahu additionally faces emergent threats from the far proper — particularly, from Itamar Ben-Gvir who has been preparing to challenge Mr. Netanyahu for having been too gentle on Hamas and, he claims, too deferential to U.S. requires restraint. Mr. Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Energy celebration was the sole faction within the coalition to vote against a cease-fire deal in November, which led to the discharge of 105 hostages held by Hamas. Mr. Ben-Gvir has additionally threatened to tug his celebration out of the governing coalition within the occasion of a extra complete settlement, which might probably require releasing tons of of Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons. “A reckless deal = collapse of the federal government,” Mr. Ben-Gvir tweeted in January.

Mr. Netanyahu’s worry of being outflanked from the proper could assist clarify why he has engineered an acrimonious public spat with the Biden administration, regardless of Israel’s near-total dependence on U.S. army assist. Michael Milshtein, head of the Palestinian Research Discussion board on the Moshe Dayan Middle for Center Jap and African Research, and Amos Harel, a army affairs analyst for Ha’aretz, have both observed that Mr. Netanyahu’s bluster over an impending incursion into Rafah — the town in southern Gaza the place a couple of million displaced Palestinians have taken shelter — derives extra from Mr. Netanyahu’s private and political issues than pressing strategic imperatives. Not solely does he need to hold the conflict going, he desires to rally his hard-line base by showing to face as much as U.S. stress.

Even inside Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud celebration, there are whispers of “the day after Bibi.” Enterprising politicians have begun to jockey for the place of his successor. Protection Minister Yoav Gallant, who Mr. Netanyahu fired and then unfired on the top of the protests final yr, has tried to stake out an much more hawkish stance on the conflict to enchantment to right-wing voters; it was Mr. Gallant who reportedly pushed for a pre-emptive strike towards Hezbollah in Lebanon after Oct. 7. Nir Barkat, the previous mayor of Jerusalem and Israel’s richest politician, has tried to take Mr. Netanyahu to job publicly for mishandling the financial disaster that has accompanied the conflict. And, whereas a lot of Likud has embraced Mr. Netanyahu’s type of right-wing populism, a handful of nominally reasonable Likudniks have grown uninterested in him, even when they’ve little disagreement along with his execution of the conflict.





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