Daniel Halliday
Mar 13 · Last update 6 mo. ago.

What effect will Netanyahu’s indictment have on the upcoming Israeli elections?

Since 2017 Benjamin Netanyahu has been under investigation for several cases of corruption and bribery involving the alleged receipt of large scale benefits from international businessmen, and a deal to manipulate legislation to benefit a news media group in return for favourable coverage. Israel’s attorney general has announced plans to indict Netanyahu following a hearing, possibly causing Netanyahu to become the first prime minister in Israeli history to be charged with a crime while in office. But what does this mean for the upcoming election and the wider political situation in Israel and the region?
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The indictment is a hurdle that Netanyahu is unlikely to clear
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Not a lot according to opinion polls
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Negative effect on Netanyahu, but a positive one for justice in Israel
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The indictment is a hurdle that Netanyahu is unlikely to clear

Netanyahu is desperately trying to twist the indictment as a leftist political tactic to diminish his standing before the election, but this remains a questionable narrative considering the indictment comes from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, a former aide to Netanyahu. While party opinion polls look favourable to Netanyahu, personal opinion polls see Netanyahu tied with his main rival Benny Gants, prompting Gantz to call on Netanyahu to resign. Many analysts, such as Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institute, have recognised this as posing “a real challenge” to Netanyahu, and Trumps effort to interfere with Israeli popular opinion by recognising Golan Heights as Israeli territory reflects this clearly.

Such a large and destabilising manipulation of the political narrative is a clear effort to sway the election in Netanyahu’s favour, but the widespread negative press and international criticism may prove this to still not be enough for this year's re-elections following the inability of Likud to form a coalition government in April. However in regard to the indictment itself, it is a positive that justice is being done in Israel and corruption is being questioned, if Netanyahu is innocent he has nothing to fear. But if his wife’s indictment, and the numerous controversies surrounding his career are anything to go by this case may be more of a hurdle than the elections for Netanyahu.

jpost.com/Israel-News/Sara-Netanyahu-indicted-for-fraud-560550

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 11
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DH edited this paragraph
Netanyahu is desperately trying to twist the indictment as a leftist political tactic to diminish his standing before the election, but this remains a questionable narrative considering the indictment comes from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, a former aide to Netanyahu. While party opinion polls look favourable to Netanyahu, personal opinion polls see Netanyahu tied with his main rival Benny Gants, prompting Gantz to call on Netanyahu to resign. Many analysts, such as Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institute, have recognised this as posing “a real challenge” to Netanyahu, and Trumps effort to interfere with Israeli popular opinion by recognising Golan Heights as Israeli territory reflects this clearly.

Not a lot according to opinion polls

According to Israel’s Channel Ten opinion poll, Netanyahu’s Likud party will still win in the upcoming election, despite the recent indictment brought against him. Netanyahu has labelled this indictment a liberal witch-hunt, and his lawyers have slated the indictment of a sitting president as a severe blow to the democratic process. Despite this, and despite it being a tightly contested election, it seems like the indictment has not dealt a decisive blow to Netanyahu, especially following Trump’s clear last minute boost to Netanyahu’s image, recently recognising Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Following the failure of the Likud party to form a coalition following a win in the April election the elections will have to run again and Netanyahu, even though indicted, will face another tight contest but will likely stay in power. Although the Likud party had a slim majority in the last election when you take into consideration the bloc of conservative allied parties the right wing commanded a 65 seats of the Knesset's 120 seat parliament, much higher than the left leaning Blue and White party of Benny Gantz. Moving forward the indictment will undoubtedly affect voter’s outlook, so it is widely seen as undemocratic timing, but unless dramatic change takes place in Israeli politics the next election is likely to be repeat of the April elections, a narrow victory for Netanyahu.

hamodia.com/2019/01/01/mandlelblit-decide-netanyahu-indictment-elections timesofisrael.com/poll-netanyahus-likud-would-remain-biggest-party-despite-corruption-probes thehill.com/homenews/administration/435192-trump-denies-trying-to-help-netanyahu-reelection-with-golan-heights dw.com/en/israels-netanyahu-on-pace-for-reelection/a-48269803

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 11
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DH edited this paragraph
Following the failure of the Likud party to form a coalition following a win in the April election the elections will have to run again and Netanyahu, even though indicted, will face another tight contest but will likely stay in power. Although the Likud party had a slim majority in the last election when you take into consideration the bloc of conservative allied parties the right wing commanded a 65 seats of the Knesset's 120 seat parliament, much higher than the left leaning Blue and White party of Benny Gantz. Moving forward the indictment will undoubtedly affect voter’s outlook, so it is widely seen as undemocratic timing, but unless dramatic change takes place in Israeli politics the next election is likely to be repeat of the April elections, a narrow victory for Netanyahu.

Negative effect on Netanyahu, but a positive one for justice in Israel

The effect this indictment will have could be an overall positive one in what might be the start of much needed justice and the prosecution of crimes in a right wing, authoritarian, war mongering, human rights abusing Israeli government and military. That is on the basis that it leads to further legal action being taken against the much more serious issues of the war crimes carried out by Israeli forces in the Gaza strip in 2018, recognised as such by Human Rights Watch, which if possible would be the start of many such hearings. Regardless of the wider case for justice in the region, Netanyahu has been implicated in multiple previous cases and according to polls the indictment would have real consequences on opinion turning against him, making re-election for 5th term unlikely.

Following the narrow win by Netanyahu in the elections in April the Likud party was unable to form a viable coalition with any other major party, and Israel’s parliament voted to dissolve itself and hold a new election later in the year. But with the pre-indictment hearing set to take place in July 2019, it is likely that the effect of the start of the indictment process will further take its toll on public opinion surrounding Netanyahu in the run up to the re-election. With the prospects of this indictment taking place and Netanyahu being out of government there is much hope for reform in Israel and a renewed push for accountability for apparent war crimes in Gaza.

msn.com/en-us/news/world/what-netanyahus-indictment-means-for-israeli-elections/ar-BBUeXSd hrw.org/news/2018/06/13/israel-apparent-war-crimes-gaza aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/israel-hold-fresh-election-september-190529211410076.html jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-agrees-to-set-pre-indictment-date-pay-lawyers-accept-file-589652 hrw.org/news/2018/06/13/israel-apparent-war-crimes-gaza

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Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Jun 11
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
The effect this indictment will have could be an overall positive one in what might be the start of much needed justice and the prosecution of crimes in a right wing, authoritarian, war mongering, human rights abusing Israeli government and military. That is on the basis that it leads to further legal action being taken against the much more serious issues of the war crimes carried out by Israeli forces in the Gaza strip in 2018, recognised as such by Human Rights Watch, which if possible would be the start of many such hearings. Regardless of the wider case for justice in the region, Netanyahu has been implicated in multiple previous cases and according to polls the indictment would have real consequences on opinion turning against him, making re-election for 5th term unlikely.
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