POLITICAL CRISIS IN ISRAEL: THE POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES AND SCENARIOS

POLITICAL CRISIS IN ISRAEL: THE POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES AND SCENARIOS

- in Strategy Research
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POLITICAL

With the beginning of  investigation  last August with the head of the Israeli government, “Netanyahu,” the Israeli political system entered  a compound crisis, as  it  creates a crisis within the ruling Likud Party, and the crisis of the  political system as a whole, on the grounds that the Likud Party, which leads the current government, this requires a diagnosis of the crisis and assess the situation of the  head of government, “Netanyahu”, and consideration of  available alternatives  to the ruling Likud party, and possible scenarios in front of political personalities and parties for the leadership of the political system.

First, the diagnosis of the crisis and assess the situation of the prime minister.

Legal advisor to the Israeli government in August announced the opening of an investigation in the wake of the information obtained from intelligence sources related to the President government , “Benjamin Netanyahu” [1] ) , and since then  the investigating  with him has began in four cases respectively known  in media  by the files No. (1000, 2000.3000, 4000) [2] ( :

The first case , known in the media file number (1000), which  the attorney general authorized  in late September 2016 the police to open a criminal investigation against “Netanyahu” in the case of receiving a bribe  from four businessmen, the first Jewish businessman “Arnon Miolczan , ” and  the bribery includes  that his wife received   bottles of champagne, and  he received Cuban cigarettes  amount (400,000 shekels) is equivalent to ($ 104,000), in return for helping “Miolczan” to extend the visa of  stay in the United States , where Netanyahu asked US Secretary of State , “John Kerry” three times to intervene in order to give “Miolczan”  a visa to stay in US and it has already been obtained actually , in addition to the Australian businessman “James Packer” to pay for meals for the family of Netanyahu at her home in Caesarea, in addition to cigars and champagne [3] ) , and in possession of the police receipts for gifts up to $ (400,000) dollars obtained by Netanyahu over the past several years  from  “Arnon Miolczan”, where they were confiscated during the police raid on the offices Miolczn in the city “Ramat Gan” in Israel ([4] ) .

The second case , known in the media file number (2000), relates to make connections between the head of government , “Netanyahu” and owner of the newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” , “Arnon Mozes , ” and make  a deal called (one by one),  its content that Netanyahu is working to push to enacte a law prohibiting publication the newspaper “Israel today” the free competing  newspaper, in return of working of the newspaper “Yediot Ahronot”  to help , “Netanyahu to stay in power, through more positive coverage, and the involvement of journalists in favor of him for writing in the newspaper [5] ) , and the police have two recordings, each containing two hours of the talk between “Netanyahu” and “Arnon Mozes,” was recorded on several occasions, and includes details of the deal between the two parties [6] ) .

The third  case , known in the media file number (3000), its content that Netanyahu insisted on buying (3) sophisticated submarines from a German company , valued at about 6 billion shekels , the equivalent of 1.5 billion euros, without the knowledge of Army Chief of Staff and former Minister of Defense ” Moshe Ya’alon , “and when  it was discovered , it was opposed by the ” Ya’alon “who managed to scuttle the deal at the time, however , Netanyahu continued measures to complete the deal after retirement , ” Ya’alon “and  ” Lieberman took over ” the defense ministry instead to serve the interests of those close to him, in reference to “David Shimron” personal attorney for Netanyahu, who has served as the representative of the representative of the German company in Israel “Mickey Ganor,” as well as  “Shomron” has attempted to ensure the continuation of the German company to maintain submarines after reaching Israel, and no Israeli Navy [7] ) .

Fourth case , and that is known  the file number (4000), it is very confidential, and no details are available around [8] ) .

Recently the Israeli police has been working to expand the investigation  on  these issues, where it summoned on January 12, 2017 prime minister ‘s wife , “Sarah Netanyahu” to testify in the case number (1000), and also the owner of the newspaper “Yediot Ahronot” to testify in the case number (2000), as well as call the Minister of environmental Protection , “Zeev Elkin” of the Likud Party, and Minister of Tourism , “Yariv Levin” to  give their testimony [9] ( .

Add to that the large part of the first circle  surrounding “Netanyahu” was brought for the inquiry about  multiple corruption issues, where his wife was brought  to investigate in  the anti – corruption unit of the police for 12 hours, accused of  indecent behavior  , and improper use of state money relating to the official home of Prime Minister , and get items under false pretenses, forging documents, and  breach of trust, and the police  advised to submit an indictment against her, and results of the investigation  were  transferred  to the public prosecutor for a decision and the decision around it [10] ( , also   “Ari Harrow  , ” former chief of staff in the Prime Minister ‘s Office , “Netanyahu” was arrested  at the moment of his arrival to the international airport , “Ben Gurion ” and placed under house arrest, and interrogation in the first two cases on charges of raising funds for the campaign  of  Netanyahu ‘s election, and the second on charges of money laundering, and  committing  a range of offenses during his work in the prime minister ‘s office, and the investigation is  about his selling the    government Consulting  services company “3H Global”  with a value  $ 3 million dollars and did not get the full amount, indicating the presence of the fake sale  [11] ) .

These issues , whether they are proved  or not , they left a negative impact on Netanyahu at the popular  and the political level , most Israelis do not believe in denying any wrongdoing in the ongoing investigations against him on charges of corruption, where the majority (54%) of respondents in a poll of Israeli  second Channel that suspicions against him in the cases (1000 and 2000) , backed by evidence, at the same time  (44%)  of the Israelis sees that he had to step down from the post of Prime Minister [12] ( including pointing to the loss of the popular place, and the damage of his  stereotyped image as commander dramatically, and at  the the political level, if  one of these issues was proven , and the indictment was  made against him in any of them, this may be obliged him  to step down [13] ( and to submit his resignation from the presidency of the government and it is enough to end a political career, and he entered the prison just like  “Ehud Olmert.

In this context , thinking seriously inside Israel in the post, “Netanyahu” has began,  the leaders  of the Likud Party began to study the potential  leadership alternatives to lead the party  in the event of resignation, “Netanyahu”, and  personalities and political parties began  to prepare for the post-Netanyahu in the event of a general election .

Second, the potential alternatives  of the Likud party .

the leaders of the ruling Likud party sees  that the era of “Netanyahu” is nearing completion, on the grounds that the investigation into these issues could lead to the end of his term after eight years in power, and they  see that this stage requires from  the party to begin to be prepared for the post , “Netanyahu” [14] ( and  actually members of the Likud Party are began  to prepare for various scenarios in the event of forcing “Netanyahu” to step down if the indictment  was  made against him, as a good number of party members began to form factions or think to nominate themselves for the presidency of the Likud party [15 ] ) .

According to this perspective, a set of questions present themselves in the case of  a withdrawal of “Netanyahu” from the political arena, what are the alternatives to the Likud party?  Who is   the probable  leader for the leadership of the party  ?, Given the leadership map within the Likud there is strong competition between the four characters (Gideon Sa’ar, Moshe Ekhalon, Moshe Ya’alon, Gilad Ardenne).

Poll in January showed that “Gideon Sa’ar” , who retired from politics two and a half years ago is considered the strongest candidate to take over the leadership of the Likud party after Netanyahu, and the results of the poll are as follows: Gideon Sa’ar 18%, Moshe Ya’alon , 10%, Gilad Ardenne 10%, Moshe Ekhalon 9% [16] ) .

Thirdly : the possible scenarios for the government.

In the case of an early election against the backdrop of the crisis that is going through, “Netanyahu”, there are two possible scenarios for the leadership of the Israeli political system:

The first scenario in terms of leading personalities , which one of the Israeli political figures have the ability to win and made the political map in Israel ?,  In this context  the poll indicates that “Yair Lapid” leader of  “party there is the future of ” The strongest  Personality   to take over the post of prime minister in the event of new elections, and the results were as follows:

“Yair Lapid” (party there is  a future) of 17%, “Naftali Bennett” (Jewish Home Party), and “Gideon Sa’ar” (Likud) ranked  in second place at 10% each, and  the opposition leader and head of the party ( the Zionist camp) . ” Yitzhak Herzog , “as well as a former defense minister of the (Likud) Moshe Yaalon  ranked  in third place, receiving 6% each and  the minister of public security , ” Gilad Araden “got 5%, and  the Minister of transport  ” Yisrael Katz got “3% [17] ( .

The second scenario in terms of  political parties, which ones of the political parties have the capacity to replace the Likud in the leadership of the Israeli political system, and in this context the successive opinion polls show that the party “There is a future , ” led by “Yair Lapid” made remarkable progress in the competition with “Likud” party , led by “Netanyahu”, where it obtained according to the poll conducted in September 2016 (24) seats “vs. (22) of the party” Likud “, according to a survey in December of the same year  the two parties have recived equal seats by (25 ) seats [18] ) .

However, the political crisis faced by “Netanyahu” reflected on the results of recent opinion polls,  the poll, which conducted by the two companies (The Migdam and iPanel) in January 2016 indicates  to have a decline in the popularity of the two major parties (Labor and Likud) in favor of the party “There is the future,” led by ” Yair Lapid, “with  the stability of” the popularity of Arab list, “led by” Ayman Uodah  “, and enhance the popularity of” Jewish home “party, led by” Naphtali Bent “,and a clear   promotion  in favor of” Yisrael Beiteinu “party, led by” Avaigdor Lieberman, “with the preserving of  other parties to its position , and the percentages were as follows:

The party “There is a future ”, 26 seats out of 120 seats, and “Likud” party  will be second with 24 seats, followed by “the(Arab joint list)” with 13 seats, and the (Jewish Home) with (12 ) seats, and ( the Zionist camp) with 11 seats, and the party (Meretz) to (6) seats, and  the rest of the parties   (Kolano) and (Yisrael Beiteinu) and (Shas) and (United Torah Judaism)  will get together (6) seats , the findings are similar to other opinion polls conducted recently, which it  expected for the party (there is  future  )  to get the largest number of seats to surpass the  ruling Party (Likud)  [19] .

Dr. Saleem Mohammad Zaanoun

Translated by: Mudhaffar al-Kusairi

Rawabet Research and Strategic Studies Center

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