While the ever crafty Benjamin Netanyahu can never be counted out until he’s really out, it is looking more and more like his long-time reign over Israel is about to end.
Considering that Netanyahu is not now and has never been a particularly popular figure in Israel and has not had much of a vision for the country’s direction, it’s remarkable that he will leave as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ever. A demagogue who turned the Likud into his cult of personality–similar to Donald Trump’s influence over the Republican party–Netanyahu is a trickster who won devotion from his followers despite always being much more driven by self-interest than any particular vision for or even compassion for the state of Israel.
Yet Netanyahu surely had an effect on Israeli politics and on its apartheid policies toward the Palestinians. It seems unlikely things would be much better for the Palestinians if there had been a different prime minister for the past twelve years. Still, Netanyahu’s self-interest often meant he was vulnerable to the pressure of his right flank, a camp that has always been racist and virulently nationalistic.
I look at all of this in my latest piece for The New Arab.