When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Israel

The Fall Of Netanyahu And The Rise Of 'Israel's Macron'

Fatigued?
Fatigued?

-Analysis-

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is having a bad week.

First, the news last Thursday that the Israeli police is investigating Netanyahu for suspected bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The next day, his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, who is also under investigation, agreed to turn state's witness in two cases involving his former boss. Then on Monday, local media reported that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit could indict Netanyahu's wife, Sara, any day now over her alleged use of vast sums of public money for private expenses.

Netanyahu's four terms as Israel"s prime minister haven't of course been free from scandals. In 2013, Israeli media revealed he had spent more than $2,000 the previous year on ice cream. (His favorite flavors? Vanilla and pistachio.)

If he is indicted, who would be his potential successors?

But now the allegations have turned more bitter: The Likud party leader is accused of receiving gifts from wealthy benefactors as well as trying to strike a deal with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's leading dailies, for positive coverage in exchange for legislative curbs against its main competitor Israel Hayom. As Judy Maltz, a reporter at Israeli newspaper Haaretz, put it: "It sometimes seems that for as long as he's been in office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under investigation for something or other. Never before, though, has he been this close to an indictment."

If he is indicted, who would be his potential successors? Two names have emerged so far. One is Ayelet Shaked, Israel's current justice minister. The other is best known for the comparisons his quick rise has drawn: Avi Gabbay, the new leader of the Labour Party, often described as "Israel's Macron."

Avi Gabbay — Photo: Nimrod Zuk

Indeed, the two men have a lot in common even though Gabbay, at age 50, is more than a decade older than the French president. As Steve Alexandre Jourdin writes in a piece for French daily Le Figaro, Emmanuel Macron and Gabbay are both newcomers to politics who favor cutting red tape; both have jumped dramatically from obscurity to prominence, and both appear to have benefited from the same popular wave of anti-establishment sweeping across the world.

Netanyahu's multiplying scandals and the inevitable fatigue that accompanies a reign as long as his could provide Gabbay with the similar "alignment of the stars' that benefited Macron. Israel's next general election isn't due until November 2019 but if there's one area where things can change quickly, it's politics.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Ideas

Modi's Fight Against "Fake News" Looks A Whole Lot Like Censorship

The Modi government’s attempts to censor the media and intimidate independent journalism pose a grave danger to Indian democracy.

Photo of a woman holding a remote while watching Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on TV

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on TV

The Wire Editorial

A distinct chill has set in this January.

The first month of the New Year has spelt trouble for anybody interested in India’s future as a democracy – where freedom of expression ought to be guaranteed. Not to speak of our newly minted status as the "mother of democracy."

There are things happening, which must be seen together to understand the reality: Censorship is here.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest