Israel, Netanyahu in the corner: what are the options

With the postponement of the vote on the justice reform, he bought time: will he be able to reach an agreement?

With the postponement of the vote on the disputed and controversial justice reform, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu bought time, but many observers believe that he is backed into a corner and has few options for getting out. Unless, once again, he proves he deserves one of his many nicknames, that of the ‘magician’ capable of turning the situation around at the last minute.

The key period will be until April 30, when the Knesset will reopen, and the reform should be back on the calendar. Until then there is time to find a compromise on the judicial reform, but it will not be easy to find an agreement. If Netanyahu decides to go ahead with the reform anyway, the protests will resume. If he instead puts the brakes on reform, his far-right coalition risks splitting.

But last-minute moves to try to turn the situation around cannot be ruled out. Netanyahu’s strategy has always been based on last-minute decisions and this makes it difficult to predict what he will do, Aviv Bushinsky, who worked with him for nine years as a media adviser, told CNN. In her opinion. Netanyahu may still try to postpone it for a while “hoping that things will gradually calm down”. After all, Bushinsky notes, the ministers who had threatened to leave if the reform was not approved immediately, in the end remained in their posts. Unless there is a national security crisis, coming from outside or linked to the Palestinian conflict. In this case, a reaction of unity would be triggered, both in the country and in the government.

However, it is not clear whether Netanyahu is truly willing to find a compromise on the reform. “I have not seen any indication that the prime minister is engaging in negotiations with a real interest in reaching a consensus,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. Which also points out that there is a further element to take into consideration: the profound crisis of the Likud. Netanyahu’s party, he remarks, has remained “politically wounded”, losing legitimacy and support even among its voters.

According to a commentary published on Ynet, Netanyahu ended up “in a prison of his own making”. After his electoral victory he allied himself with the far right, considering it the easiest option to manage. But it is a coalition that ends up being too self-referential, where there is a shortage of personalities capable of warning the prime minister that he has taken a dangerous path. And it is thus, notes the newspaper, that Netanyahu has ignored many warning signs.