Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played his nationalist card, as he has always done before elections in order to get votes from Israel's right wing. Therefore, he has adopted a very radical nationalist rhetoric for his political agenda for his status quo.
Many people think Netanyahu has a long record of making wild and bold promises before elections. In this regard, for example he even promised last month that if he is re-elected, he will annex the Jordan Valley, including all of the West Bank settlements.
In short, Netanyahu is bluffing. His polarizing leadership efforts before the Israeli election on Sept. 17 was an attempt to remain in office in order to avoid a highly-likely prosecution on corruption charges.
By the same token, Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel denounced that the "recent years of his right-wing policies and a corruption investigation" could lead to Netanyahu's indictment. Basically, Netanyahu's statement about "annexation" was a campaign promise that seems to never be fulfilled.
There are different views among Israeli's Jewish citizens for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel's left-wing, center and some right-wing political parties are almost entirely unified in rejecting the full annexation of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.
However, Netanyahu and his Likud Party either align with Israel's far-right religious parties (like Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the ultranationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu) or pressure the smaller right-wing parties to pull out of the Sept. 17 elections.
But overall, the Israeli public is united against the annexation because they do not want Palestinians to have full Israeli citizenship.
The rise of nationalism in Israel accelerated with U.S. President Donald Trump's powerful support of Netanyahu.
In this context, Donald Trump announced to close the U.S. Eonsulate in Tel Aviv and open a new one in Jerusalem. which no U.S. president had officially done so before.
In addition to this scandalous decision, Trump controversially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 and the U.S. stopped all aid to Palestinians. Thus, Trump granted Netanyahu complete freedom to act as he wishes with Palestine. Since Donald Trump became president of the United States in 2016, Netanyahu has incrementally been playing both the religious and nationalist cards to Israeli citizens.
So, is this time the end for Netanyahu? He is facing a stiff challenge from the prospect of corruption, bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges. History is becoming unforgiving for Israel's longest-serving prime minister.
Because, even if he won the election on Sept. 17, he would have had trouble finding partners to make a coalition to form a government, due to the indictments hanging over his head.
According to Uzi Arad, who is Netanyahu's former national security adviser, Netanyahu has become careless and arrogant, which leaves him with fewer and fewer allies. Experts believe that there is a narrow path for Netanyahu to succeed, particularly after the results of the September elections, that will reveal many realities for the Israeli prime minister.
* Ph.D. candidate in political science and public management, Erciyes University
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