BREAKING: Netanyahu charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three of four cases.
The whole Israeli election fiasco creeps ever onward. In the words of Macbeth:
…But a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Today, Benny Gantz, a member of the troika leading the Blue and White coalition, threw in the towel as he failed to form a new government. This means that there is a 21-day period in which any member of Knesset may come forward and claim the bride for his own, by amassing enough votes to cobble together 61 MKs. This has never happened before in Israeli history. It’s highly unlikely that an individual MK or even group of MKs will do so. But it is possible that deals could still be wheeled, and a government might still arise from this electoral morass. Failing that, the country is headed for yet a third election in the early spring.
Since very little has changed among the various political parties and no one has gained an advantage, or conversely come under the baleful gaze of the voter, a stalemate remains a continuing possibility. The only deal-changer might be Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to indict Netanyahu on three possible separate counts of bribery and corruption. Israeli media have variously reported that the indictments will be issued either tomorrow or early next week.
But lest anyone get out your celebratory confetti and noisemaker, not so fast. The Attorney General must report the indictment to the Knesset speaker, who must then give the MK-indictee an opportunity to request a grant of immunity from the legislative body. Aye, but there’s the rub–in effect, there is no legislative body. Though there is a nominal government, it is not functioning. There are no committee meetings, which would be required to hear such a request.
So it is conceivable that Edelstein and Netanyahu could bury the indictment through inaction, until a new government is formed (whenever that is). Thus anyone who anticipated that Mandelblit might play a decisive role in breaking the political logjam is likely to be disappointed.
In his own inimitable fashion, Trump himself expressed dismay at the impasse:
“What kind of a system is it over there, right, with Bibi and…? They are all fighting and fighting,” Trump said, addressing an event hosted by the Orthodox organization America First in New York City.
“We have different kinds of fights. At least we know who the boss is. They keep having elections and nobody is elected,” he quipped, eliciting laughter.
I’ve never experienced a time in the political history of both the U.S. and Israel when the phrase, “welcome to my nightmare,” was more apt.