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.


● 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

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