India rejects net zero carbon emissions target ahead of COP26    Progress still possible in Syria, UN envoy says after disappointment over Geneva talks    Al-Rajhi holds bilateral meetings with number of labor ministers in Dubai    Sheikh Al-Sudais inaugurates smart disinfection robot at Grand Mosque    Al-Murabba provides 7 International dining destinations to its visitors    TDF, Ennismore sign MoU to explore $400 million investment fund    FII reconsiders infrastructure establishment logistics    Al-Jadaan: CCE must be taken into consideration to address climate change    FII discusses redesigning tourism and laying foundations for future success    Islamic Affairs Minister awarded Albanian Islamic Sheikhdom Shield    Saudi, US Navies' Blue Defender 21 drill concludes    UK plans to remove travel 'red list' and hotel quarantine: Report    Janssen partners with National Guard Hospital to offer breakthrough genetic testing to leukemia patients    United upsets Friends, ICAD downs Chinar, CSG edges Pak Zalmi: Kanoo league    Ithra's 4th Tanween season explores 'Tools' that shape creativity for the future    Legendary comedian and satirist Mort Sahl dies at age 94    RedSeaIFF invites audiences to discover selection of masterpieces    Riyadh Season hosts Barcelona and Boca Juniors on Maradona Cup night    All eyes on Jeddah! World's best golfers set for climax of Aramco Team Series    Pakistan hammer India by 10 wickets to clinch T20 win    Bride's fingerprint not required in revised e-marriage contract    Bollywood superstar's son denied bail in drugs case    Saudis, expats mourn death of prominent Filipino preacher in Riyadh    Bollywood actor Sidharth Shukla dies at 40    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Directs KSrelief to Urgently Provide Malaysia with Medical, Preventive Equipment and Supplies to Address COVID-19 Pandemic    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Maldives on Independence Day    Weather Forecast for Sunday    RSNF Commander Patronizes Ceremonial Launching of His Majesty's Ship "Jazan"    OIC Condemns Houthi Attempts to Target Civilians in Saudi Arabia    Philippines evacuates thousands as monsoon rains flood cities, provinces    Heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides; at least 125 dead    U.S. Records 64,321 New Infections of Coronavirus    Without Fans, Tokyo Olympics Kicked Off    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Dr. Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's Pick to Chair IsDB Group for the next five years, unanimously approved by BoG Committee of Procedures    Saudi Press: Fitch affirms Saudi Credit Rating at "A" with a revised outlook to stable from negative    Handled Cargo at Saudi Ports Increases during June 2021    SDAIA, DARP & STC Launch Pilgrim's Smart Bracelet (NUSK)    2 Goals by Diaz Gives Colombia 3rd Place at Copa America    Saudi Cinema Night at Arab World Institute in Paris Kicks Off    KSU Leads Joint International Scientific Project for Early Detection of Breast Cancer    Saudi Arabia to Participate in Cannes Film Festival 2021    Arab Cup U-17 Championship Draw Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Kuwait, in the 1st Group    AWI Hosts Saudi Cinema Nights in Paris    Brazil Beats Chile at Copa America Despite 2nd-Half Red Card    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Israeli election: More ‘King Bibi' or bye-bye Bibi?
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 14 - 02 - 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's face beams down from election billboards depicting him as a statesman, shaking hands with US President Donald Trump.
Opponents portray him as a criminal. Even before he called an election for April 9, he was branded "CRIME MINISTER" in huge banners at protest rallies, a reference to three corruption investigations threatening his decade of political dominance.
Love him or loathe him, the election is all about Netanyahu.
Although the names of parties will be on ballot papers, the vote will amount to a referendum on Netanyahu in the shadow of his legal woes. If he wins, he will become Israel's longest-serving prime minister this summer.
"There's no central issue other than Netanyahu's reign and clean government — whether he remains prime minister and what the price is for corruption," said Tamar Hermann, a political science professor with the Israel Democracy Institute.
Opinion polls show Netanyahu's Likud party is likely to win about 30 seats in the 120-member parliament, enough for the right-wing leader, now 69 and in his fourth term, to form the type of nationalist-religious coalition government he already heads.
He faces a strong challenge from former armed forces chief Benny Gantz. But Gantz's centrist Resilience party, which is second in opinion polls, would need to pursue groundbreaking political alliances to outstrip a right-wing bloc.
In power since 2009, after a first stint as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, the man ardent supporters hail as "King Bibi" has struck a chord with an electorate that has moved to the right and watched with delight as, under Trump, Washington lined up with many of Netanyahu's policies.
That has included US withdrawal from the international deal curbing Iran's nuclear program, Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and a cut-off of US aid to the Palestinian Authority over its refusal to resume peace talks that collapsed in 2014.
"He (Netanyahu) has brought us excellent achievements, he represents me with dignity. I feel like my country is flourishing because of him," said Ronit Levy, a 49-year-old insurance agent from the northern city of Afula who goes by the handle of "Ronit the Bibi'ite" on Twitter and Facebook.
The sign on the giant city-center billboards featuring Netanyahu and Trump says: "Netanyahu. In a different league."
But in three corruption cases, Netanyahu is suspected of wrongfully accepting gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensing favors in alleged bids for favorable coverage in an Israeli newspaper and a website.
He has denied wrongdoing, saying he is a victim of a left-wing witch-hunt to topple him and that he has no intention of resigning. But his opponents are attacking his record and underlining the need for clean governance.
In a speech that boosted his ratings on Jan. 29, Gantz said Israel's present leadership encouraged incitement, subversion and hatred, and was so detached from the people that it had adopted "the mannerisms of a French royal house".
"There was already a king who said: ‘The State is me,' Gantz said, referring to King Louis XIV of France. "But no. Not here. No Israeli leader is a king. The state is not me. The state is you. The state is actually us. The state is all of us."
Netanyahu's legal saga looks set to enter a new chapter soon. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit could announce by the end of February whether he intends to file criminal charges, as police have recommended, in the three corruption investigations.
Indictment in court would await the outcome of pre-trial hearings in which Netanyahu would try to dissuade Mandelblit from filing formal charges.
Those hearings would be unlikely to be wrapped up before the election, meaning voters would go to the polls aware that the attorney-general believes there is sufficient evidence to convict Netanyahu of criminal activity.
"The mere notion that in Israel a prime minister can remain in office while under indictment is ridiculous," Gantz said.
Palestinian leaders have had little to say about the Israeli election, maintaining their traditional policy of watching quietly from the sidelines.
They have already broken off contacts with the Trump administration, accusing it of pro-Israel bias. Any new Netanyahu government would be likely to include veteran allies opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Comments last week by Gantz that Israel must find a way "not to have dominion over other people" — a reference to its continued occupation of the West Bank — won praise from a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"It's encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion," the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said.
Trump intends to present a long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan only after the election and has been trying to enlist the support of US Arab allies in the region. But expectations of a breakthrough are low.
Another question looms for after the election: will coalition partners still stick with Netanyahu if Mandelblit, after a hearing, moves ahead with indictment?
Knives are already out: former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an erstwhile political ally of Netanyahu, has predicted that right-wing parties now pledging their support would eventually turn on the Israeli leader.
Hermann, of the Israel Democracy Institute, said Netanyahu enjoys loyalty from his core supporters of lower-income Israelis who see him as their champion.
Netanyahu's backers, many of them Jews with roots in the Middle East and North Africa, hold grudges against left-wing parties that once dominated Israeli politics, accusing them of maltreating immigrants from those regions.
"It doesn't matter what he does, they don't expect him to conduct himself by the same moral standards that bind ordinary people," Hermann said. "You don't regard the king the same way you do a peasant." — Reuters

Clic here to read the story from its source.