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Will Israel's right-wing camp lose its leader soon?

The right-wing camp, including the ultra-Orthodox, national-religious and settlers, have considered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as its leader for so long that it is now finding itself in a crisis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem December 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RC2ZQD9CG4UT
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On Dec. 9, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter account featured a video clip from 1988, documenting his meeting with the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement, in Brooklyn, New York. Netanyahu, then 39 years old, had just completed his term as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and was about to run for a slot on the Likud party’s Knesset list. The “Rebbe” wished him success, saying, “You will need to struggle against 119 other people. You certainly shouldn’t be intimidated by that, because the Holy One, Blessed be He, is on your side."

This video clip has been making the rounds for years, particularly among members of the Chabad Hasidic group. In the past few years, however, it has gone viral, particularly on popular ultra-Orthodox websites, where it has become iconic. Netanyahu himself has used it extensively too, but until now he used it mostly with his ultra-Orthodox audiences. Now, however, just hours before a third election is likely to be announced, he has decided to post it to his Twitter account for his 1.7 million followers. He had good reason for doing that too.

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