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Netanyahu Is Using the Third COVID Vaccine to Try to Remain Relevant

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26.07.2021

Six weeks after losing power, Benjamin Netanayhu is desperately trying to remain relevant. It’s not easy. People are getting used to calling Naftali Bennett prime minister, and while the new government is having a tough time getting legislation through the Knesset with its precarious majority, his opposition’s raucous obstruction of parliamentary business is hardly going to hold the public’s attention through the summer – especially with the recess coming next week.

The Netanyahu way of doing politics is to constantly dominate the news agenda. But he’s finding that increasingly hard without the Prime Minister’s Office at his disposal and the media gradually paying less attention to his machinations.

Hoping to draw contrasts between his own fabled statesmanship and Bennett’s inexperience, he has tried to invent diplomatic crises. His first attempt at crisis-mongering was in the new government’s first week, when he accused it of having “unprecedentedly” promised the U.S. administration that it would not surprise it over any moves regarding Iran. That quickly fizzled as former ministers and ambassadors came forward to say there was nothing new about such an undertaking. Indeed, Netanyahu had made similar promises himself.

Meanwhile, the talks in Vienna over the Biden administration rejoining the Iran nuclear deal got nowhere, so that issue was no longer the flash point Netanyahu had anticipated.

Next, he accused Bennett of appeasing Jordan’s “pro-Iranian” King Abdullah by agreeing to increase the amount of water Israel pumps to the Hashemite kingdom over the summer. But that criticism failed to catch on. Likewise, his latest criticism – that under the new government, Israel’s relationship with the Kremlin has quickly deteriorated, and the Russians are now seeking to limit........

© Haaretz


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