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Netanyahu goes it alone

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has completely excluded Likud ministers from the party’s election campaign, choosing to stand alone even as he stands to be indicted for corruption.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media as he attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem February 24, 2019. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS - RC196ADBF2C0
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“I’m best when I’m on my own,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told one of the people closest to him when asked why he insisted on distancing those most loyal to him. The conversation with the person, who requested anonymity, took place about a year ago. During the 2015 election campaign, which Netanyahu practically ran by himself, senior Likud officials fretted that the man and the party were about to crash. The Likud's subsequent victory, winning an impressive 30 seats, convinced Netanyahu that the Likud is him, and he is the Likud. All the other Likud Knesset members are simply there because of him.

The 2015 victory left Netanyahu without any restraints or hindrances. Most of all, it left him feeling that he didn't owe anyone anything. In other words, he had no need to consult with senior ministers. Rather quickly, he distanced ministers once considered close to him. He suspects almost all of them of being disloyal to him, except for Yariv Levin, his minister of transportation, and he certainly does not appreciate them. This is why he stands alone today, the most crucial day of the election campaign — the day Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced indictments against Netanyahu on corruption charges. Whatever happens in the elections, whether the Likud wins or crashes, the result will bear Netanyahu’s name only.

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