There is almost unanimous “surprise” at the ongoing events on the Israeli political stage. For nearly 16 months, the Prime Minister has been subjected to a series of investigations. The police have recommended that he be put on trial on account of two corruption cases. Meantime, investigations have also been opened into another two cases. Still, his government is stable and cohesive. All the more so, his party, the Likud, has achieved higher scores in public opinion polls than before. Practically, however, there is no room for surprise. This is a reflection of the right wing settler movement and figures’ control over the government and public opinion making in Israel.
Much has been said about comparisons between Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmert. In sum, the case of Netanyahu is not only the first of its kind, but is also an indicator of the status of governance in Israel over the upcoming period. Since the first weeks investigations were launched in late 2016, Netanyahu’s case has been paralleled by demonising law enforcement agencies, particularly the police. It is worth noting that Netanyahu had played a key role in major police appointments, particularly the head of the police Roni Alsheikh.
Overtime, especially following the police recommendations to bring Netanyahu to trial in two cases, right wing writers have unveiled their motives to not overthrow Netanyahu. They argue that the right wing government is targeted, rather than Netanyahu per se. The current government is the most adherent to the right wing settler movement’s agenda. It is unprecedented in all former 33 governments. We have seen this from day one. A few months after it came to power, racist laws in support of the occupation and settlement enterprise have peaked under the term of this government.
It should be noted that Netanyahu does not enjoy an absolute popularity. Most public opinion polls rate his popularity at 31 percent. By contrast, the majority of public figures receive less than 15 percent. At the same time, however, a roughly static 30 percent of the respondents refuse all the names presented by opinion polls as preferred figures to be prime minister.