Skip to main content

Despite trial, Netanyahu's popularity soaring

Despite the opening of his trail, and despite failures in prior elections, the popularity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps soaring.

Israel’s September 2019 elections gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his first bitter taste of defeat in a decade. The newly established Blue and White party led by three former army generals garnered one more seat in the Knesset than his own Likud party did. Worse still, the protective bloc of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties that Netanyahu had labored to form accounted for only 55 seats, six fewer than Netanyahu required to ensure a majority in the 120-seat legislature and 10 less than the majority achieved by the anti-Netanyahu center-left bloc. Faced with the results, he thought all was lost. For the first time in ages, he could not put together a coalition government. Blue and White was blocking his road to reelection, and appeared to be sending him down a slippery slope to his political demise.

Netanyahu’s troubles were just starting. Two months after the elections, on Nov. 21, 2019, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision to indict Netanyahu on three charges — bribery, fraud and breach of trust. What’s more, polls indicated that a decisive majority of Israelis blamed Netanyahu for forcing them into an unprecedented, consecutive third round of elections within less than a year, a very rare occurrence in democratic regimes. (Last recorded in the twilight days of Germany’s Weimar Republic.)

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.