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Netanyahu’s new target: Israel's media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved beyond his traditional enemies of Iran and Palestine and has designated the Israeli media as his new nemesis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool - RTX2S46T
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The July 2015 signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers deprived Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his main electoral growth engine. Netanyahu milked the anti-Iran issue for all it was worth from one election campaign to the next over the past seven years, interspersed with impressive speeches at the UN General Assembly, the US Congress and other venues. He stormed toward the emerging agreement with guns blazing, and he continued to bash it even after it was inked. But what’s done is done. Iran, according to various reports, is adhering strictly to the terms of the agreement and the “Iranian threat” is no more — at least for the coming decade.

But that’s not all. The Palestinian issue, which has engaged Israelis for decades, is also no longer of any interest to them. The peace process has died out. The concept that Israel has no partner on the Palestinian side has taken root deep in the public consensus, leaving nothing to use as a threat with which to scare voters. Add to this the facts that the war in Syria has removed Hezbollah from the map of immediate threats to Israel’s national security and that following the general dissolution of the Arab world surrounding Israel, Israel’s security situation is at its best ever — and you have an Israeli prime minister in trouble. Netanyahu, who has built his career on doomsday prophecies, apocalyptic scenarios and the creation of external demons to close ranks around him, has found himself without a target. The political support growth engines have died out.

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