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Likud blindly obeys Netanyahu

The obedient vote by the Likud Party’s Knesset faction to dissolve the parliament, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s needs and wishes, shows the current state of Israel’s ruling party — one of being in an era of a strongman who has turned the Likud into a one-man band.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits at the plenum at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RC18F79442A0
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Some 30 minutes prior to the final May 29 Knesset vote to dissolve itself, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson sent around a photo showing members of Likud members waiting for him to enter the party’s meeting room. “The Likud faction is convening in full,” said the caption. The photo of the Likud’s 33 Knesset members and government ministers (not including Netanyahu) lining up as one before voting themselves out of office, less than two months after being elected, is a faithful portrayal of the Netanyahu era. It also reflects the Likud movement’s organizational ethics — the party does not depose its leaders even when they appear to act contrary to the collective interest.

Netanyahu convened his colleagues only to fully ensure that they were marching in lockstep, that no one was planning to spring any surprises on him during the vote. After all, he had already endured several exhausting and tense days when he realized that Yisrael Beitenu party Chair Avigdor Liberman had probably made a strategic decision to prevent him from forming his fifth government. Without Liberman, Netanyahu could not assemble a majority coalition; thus President Reuven Rivlin could have proceeded by tasking another Knesset member with forming the new government. At that moment, Netanyahu, the arch-politician, lost control over the developments and could not afford to back an alternative government that he himself would not lead. Given the circumstances and despite the deadlines looming of his possible indictments, opting for new elections was the littlest of all evils as far as he was concerned.

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