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Has 'Bibi, the Magician' lost his magic?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has uncharacteristically made one misstep after the other.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTX2FWDQ
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On the day after the March 2015 Knesset elections, the popular Italian daily Corriere de la Sera headlined its story on the Likud Party victory “The Comeback of Bibi, the Magician.” It brought to mind the Israeli performer Dori Ben-Zeev crooning Kobi Luria's “There once was a country,” a song about a magician who could speak without saying a thing, lived like a king and had a wife like a queen, until one morning his bluff was called. There are growing indications in recent weeks that Israel's “magician” is losing his touch and that the game is up.

A series of mishaps, apologies and denials by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by his henchmen suggest that even the person who can speak without saying a thing can get entangled in lies, mistakes and contradictions. It seems that even a political magician as skilled as Netanyahu cannot emerge dry after being showered by a slew of criminal investigations — excuse me, “probes” — and harsh reports by the state comptroller, in addition to dealing with international pressure to stop cowering and join a diplomatic peace initiative and a government coalition hanging by a thread.

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