The number of pieces on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sprawling political chessboard dropped significantly last week. Today, with those pieces gone, so are the number of moves available to ensure Netanyahu’s survival. This all began when former minister Gideon Saar left the Likud to form a party of his own and announced his intent to run for prime minister. By last weekend, Saar had told everyone who interviewed him that he would not sit in a government with Netanyahu under any circumstances. What this means is that the “Anyone but Netanyahu” bloc has grown. Conversely, the prime minister’s chances of having the majority he needs to form his sixth government have dwindled.
This development could have dramatic consequences, especially now, with the clash between the Likud and the Blue and White party ratcheting up a notch, and the government about to fall. Conventional wisdom says that the Knesset will be dissolved by the end of the month and that elections will be moved up to March.