The Jewish Chronicle
Netanyahu’s split screen dramas
On Wednesday, the third day of his testimony, Mr Yeshua recalled how Mr Elovich said to him after Likud’s surprise victory, “Congratulations, you won him the election.”
But despite President Rivlin’s obvious exasperation, it looked for a while on Monday as if Mr Netanyahu was about to win again. With the opposition split and three parties not endorsing any candidate, the score line in MK recommendations was: Benjamin Netanyahu 52, Yair Lapid 45, Naftali Bennett 7.
The president’s seven-year term ends in three months, and for all his “ethical considerations” on tapping a candidate facing charges of bribery and fraud, he does not want to
It looked on Monday as if Mr Netanyahu was about to win again’ go down in history as the man who “politicised” the presidency — and so leave office as “president of only half the nation,” as Likud is already branding him. He announced the next day that he was selecting Mr Netanyahu and simply signalled his displeasure by sending the mandate by courier, instead of inviting Mr Netanyahu for the traditional photo opportunity.
But by then, the prime minister’s victory in the battle for the most endorsements was looking rather hollow. The previous evening, Mr Lapid had stunned the political establishment by announcing publicly that he had not only offered to join a government with Mr Bennett and split the prime minister’s term between them, but that Mr Bennet would go first. A leader of a party with only seven Knesset seats serving as prime minister sounds an impossible proposition. But then you would have said the same thing just a couple of years ago about a politician on trial for bribery and fraud serving as prime minister.
PLEA BARGAIN TIME?
● The bottom line of three days of testimony in the Netanyahu trial is that the prosecution’s first witness presented a detailed account, backed up by notes and recordings, of how the news organisation he ran was for years put at the disposal of the prime minister and his family. Other witnesses who worked there at the time are expected to back up his testimony. It will be nearimpossible for the defence to refute this. There remains, though, one major gap in the prosecution’s case. Mr Yeshua never spoke to Mr Netanyahu, his wife or his son. It was