|A MAJORITY OF ONE?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces his most serious crisis to date.
January 22, 1998
in this forum:
Was Foreign Minister Levy's resignation political posturing? How much can the U.S. actually achieve in the peace process? What are the chances that the prime minister will use the divisiveness of redeployment to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections himself? Are the Members of Knesset willing to dissolve the government altogether and run for re-election themselves? Isn't it possible that Mr. Netanyahu will survive this crisis as well? Viewer Comments
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Richard Williams of Madison, WI, asks:
Although Netanyahu has repeatedly proven himself as a shrewd politician, the majority of experts are predicting the imminent collapse of his government. Isn't it possible that he will survive this crisis as well?
Dr. Ehud Sprinzak, professor of political science at Hebrew University and visiting scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, answers:There is presently no crisis Netanyahu has to withstand, and the expectations for his political demise are premature. Given his propensity to commit unnecessary mistakes, as well as the fragile nature of his coalition government, it is, however, likely that sooner rather than later, he will face a new crisis. Since the recent resignation of Foreign Minister Levy has reduced the safety margins of the Netanyahu government to two Knesset members (he only has the support of 61 out of 120) it is not clear how the prime minister would handle a new crisis. Most Israeli commentators believe that the next Israeli elections for the prime minister will be conducted in 1998, i.e. two years before the set date of year 2000.
Dr. Amos Perlmutter, professor of government at American University, answers:
Yes. Not only possible - he certainly will survive. He has demonstrated this in the past. The fact remains that 56 percent of the Jewish voters support him and 75 percent support the Hebron protocol. This means that he may even be re-elected by a greater percentage than he was elected by in 1996, running on a campaign of Palestinian terrorism and the Clintonian slight of Israel.