In the past month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced off against the third police recommendation that he be investigated charges of bribery and corruption. Despite this, the well known controversial leader of Israel has remained steadfast in his position undeterred by the multiple allegations of nepotism and corruption by opponents.
Netanyahu has recently passed a bill that ensures only the leader of each elected political party has the right to form a government and not any other figure on the parties’ lists, leading to opposition leader Tamar Zandberg stating that “For a long time now this coalition has been busy with nothing else except to protect the seat of a corrupt prime minister,”. Netanyahu has survived controversy after controversy during his tenure as Israeli PM.
Netanyahu is a figurehead for hard line Zionism within Israel as a notable critic of the Oslo accords since their inception. He has, in his time, banded together a number of right wing organisations to support his Likud led government including the homophobic Shas party whose MK Nissim Ze’ev stated that homosexuals were “carrying out the self-destruction of Israeli society and the Jewish people.” and that homosexuals were as “toxic as bird flu.”
Yet despite all this Netanyahu has faced his toughest challenge yet. A number of corruption allegations into the suspicion that the he had eased business regulations for the country’s largest telecommunications company in exchange for favourable coverage for him and his wife on a popular news website owned by the firm.
And yet, in spite of these seemingly damning assertions by the police, Netanyahu has remained steadfast in his position. When, the right wing defence minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of the tactical defeat of Israeli forces by the Palestinian armed factions, Netanyahu decided to take over role of defence minister, adding it to his responsibilities as prime minister and foreign minister. After nearly a decade in power, Netanyahu has become the face of the current Israeli regime. Uncommitted to the peace process but committed to the continued building of illegal settlements.
Following a drive by shooting by a Palestinian militant this week, assassinating two IDF members, Netanyahu has stated that he will legalise thousands of settlement homes built without even Israeli permits in the occupied West Bank. It is clear to see that Netanyahu’s grasp on power remains fragile yet just sturdy enough to remain in government, thanks to his relationship with the Israeli right. However, even that now seems in jeopardy as the Palestinian armed factions grown in confidence against the Israeli occupation. “If there is no real solution, this government will be in existential danger,” warned leading settler spokesman Yossi Dagan.
Netanyahu is a political contradiction. He is routinely probed for corruption yet polling has him set on course to win a fifth election next year. He is often criticised by the Israeli far right and yet he has not been substantially challenged as leader of the Israeli government. The reasoning of this contradiction is that he has been one of Israels more successful modern leaders against the armed groups that seek its destruction.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert faced a similar corruption charge that led to his downfall after the withdrawal of Israeli force from Lebanon after their tactical defeat from Hezbollah. Netenyahu has not had his dramatic defeat from the armed factions yet and so he remains abiding in his role as PM. But with the armed Palestinian militants gaining strength day by day and the growing anger of Israeli settlers, Netenyahu’s corruption charges may soon catch up on him yet.