Tag Archives: Likud party


BLOG 474
June 1, 2020



Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.


The trial of Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and other criminal charges is underway with fireworks to follow. This week Netanyahu blasted the police and prosecutor’s office.

Flanked by ministers and lawmakers from his Likud party, Netanyahu delivered lengthy televised remarks before the start of the hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, ripping into police and prosecutors as he became the first Israeli premier to stand trial on criminal charges while in office, and declaring that all his right-wing supporters were on trial along with him. He said, “I’m not a poodle… and therefore they need to remove me by any means.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday evening decried as a “horror show” the speech Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made just before entering the opening hearing of his corruption trial, and said it confirmed that a criminal defendant cannot serve as Israel’s leader. He noted that, “Israel’s prime minister stood and said people can’t trust police, the prosecution or the court,” the Yesh Atid-Telem party leader said. “What happens to an Israeli citizen who hears him and thinks he’s right? Are we supposed to close the country and throw away the key?

“I have been saying for more than 18 months that someone who sits on the defendant’s bench cannot also be the prime minister. Today we got a demonstration why that principle is correct. It was a horror show by a frightened man who is telling Israel’s citizens that they cannot trust anything here, with followers standing behind him and saying amen,” Lapid charged.

He also argued the premier and his loyalists were seeking to intimidate the judges.

A Supreme Court justice, in a ruling published Wednesday, took the unusual step of criticizing the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is serving as prime minister while under indictment.

“The reality in which a criminal suspect forms a government and leads it reflects a social crisis and moral failure of society and of Israel’s political system,” Judge Menahem (Meni) Mazuz wrote in the full response to petitions that sought to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government due to the criminal charges against him.

Justice Anat Baron appeared to concur with Mazuz, writing in her response, “The petitioners and others like them are frustrated that the head of the State of Israel is someone who is facing a serious indictment. This is indeed an unusual situation in the democratic landscape, some would say dangerous.”

Who said watching Israeli politics is not fun… well, maybe not fun, but certainly interesting. You can bet there’s more to come!

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Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

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Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East


BLOG 421 February 12, 2019

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST ~ Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

Let’s take a further look beyond where we were last week. The coming Israeli elections on April 9 are the hot topic of the day. I will be leaving this week for Israel and will come back with an even closer look at the situation. All of which also means that I won’t be doing another blog until March 3.

The question that is becoming the pressing issue is how Prime Minister Netanyahu will endure in the battle for the office he now occupies. The current thinking is that Netanyahu will win barring a major upset. Likud (his party) already holds a substantial lead in the Knesset. As reported last week the unknown entity is whether Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will quickly press charges of corruption against Netanyahu. This dark cloud hangs over Netanyahu’s campaign.

Always heated, Israeli elections have fierce backroom negotiations between the many parties in the country. A major bombshell exploded when Avi Gabbay terminated his partnership with Tzipi Lvini (a former Mossad operative) that killed the Zionist Union party. Livini is now frantically searching for a new alliance. Gabbay’s vindictive treatment of the woman made him look mean and Livini deserving of sympathy. We will see how that goes.

A highly interesting new candidate is retired general Benny Gatz. Looking like a movie star, Gatz is well-known and liked throughout the country. A centrist, Gatz has yet to clarify his exact political position. Some supporters caution him to remain vague, but the anti-Netanyahu element wants him to purpose a center-left position they believe will take the day.

As you may know, Israel has more political parties than Carter has liver pills. New ones are being invented for this election. The Jewish Home party collapsed and came back as the New Right. Gatz’s group invented the Israel Resilience party. Of course, there’s always the religious Zionists and Orthodox Jews groups.

How does all of this play out? Actually, all of these groups will split the vote and that could make the Likud party come out on top with Netanyahu winning.  The proliferation of parties provides power for the Prime Minister. Of course, it is far too early in the game for any sane predictions how the next 60 days will play out, but it’s going to be interesting to watch.

See ya’ when I get back from Jerusalem.

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BLOG 388 March 26, 2014

    Anyone who follows the news from Israel knows that the papers are full of the stories about the charges against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara. Yaakov Katz in the Jerusalem Post reported that after losing the 1999 election to Ehud Barak, Bib’s conclusion was that to be Prime Minister he needed to have one newspaper under his control. He didn’t end up buying one, but may wish he had.

While the story is barely covered by American media, it remains the major story in Israel. However, the polls show the majority of the public still support Netanyahu. Even with the bad press he has received in Israel over the past few years, the polls give him a healthy position.

Why so?

A number of factors may well keep demonstrators home for the time being.

Israel currently has a strong economy with record tourism and low unemployment. I have been in Israel during years when this was not the case. From those experiences, I know how important the decreasing cost of housing can be. President Bill Clinton avoided impeachment basically because the economy was so strong near the end of his presidency. People didn’t want to rock the money boat. When people have a good job, they can be forgiving, or at least, look the other way.

Safety is paramount in Israel. Bombing of buses and personal attacks has kept the country on edge. Currently, Netanyahu has pushed the idea that only he can protect the country in the face of the nuclearization of Iran. Many citizens believe this option. I have also been in the Gaza area and observed how radical Israel’s enemy can be. As long as Netanyahu appears to be the one to keep the country secure, he has an edge.

And who’s going to replace him? The choices seem to be lacking. At the least, there does not appear to be a strong man on the horizon. Former defense ministry Moshe Ya’alon made a political mistake when he left the Likud party because he could have been a significant candidate for the job. Possibly no other world leader has met as many international leaders as Netanyahu has. Such a record is substantial. Without a clear choice for who will follow Netanyahu, many voters are willing to look the other way – at least for a while.

With the charges against Bibi and his wife Sara coming on two different fronts, the issue is serious and will continue to simmer. What’s next?

Stay tuned.

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