Netanyahu appears to have inoculated himself against looming corruption charges due to the dramatic developments on the security front. As war with Iran looms, why does the old formula work so well?
On Wednesday night, the day after Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran deal, in between Israeli airstrikes in Syria, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported the Likud’s highest polling numbers in a decade — 35 seats, five more than it holds today.
Is it really that simple? Netanyahu, 12 years in office, facing multiple corruption investigations and a possible indictment, just pulls out the magic security card and his polls rise as if standing at attention. As Arlo Guthrie once said, “it’s amazing that somebody can get away with singing a song this dumb, for that long.”
But oh, those numbers. The glory of watching rivals wither: Yair Lapid, who had to defend himself this week from an unforgivable position that just maybe the U.S. should not withdraw unilaterally or immediately from the scourge of a deal, slid down to 18 seats in the poll, far from his party’s perch in the mid-20s in recent months.
Other electoral dynamics did not change significantly. A new party established by former Israel Beitenu MK Orly Levi dropped from eight seats – which in fairness was probably an inflated result anyway – to five in the current poll. Given that she comes from the right, those votes probably went to Likud. In times of war, you don’t play around with girlie parties.
On Tuesday night, moments before Trump was due to speak, the IDF ordered bomb shelters in the Golan Heights opened, following IDF “leaks” about suspicious Iranian troop movement. Wednesday night, 20 rockets were fired from Syria – none actually hit Israel – apparently by Iranian forces or proxies, sirens went off in the Golan, and Israel launched its largest airstrikes in Syria in decades. As Israel cheered Trump’s announcement like a choir, war felt more imminent than at any time in recent years.Read More