Published 11/07/2023 16:44 | Edited 11/07/2023 17:15
Amid the devastation of the conflict with Hamas, Israel now faces a major internal political crisis. Thousands of Israelis flooded the streets of cities including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba and Eilat, expressing their fury and frustration with the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The last straw was the kidnapping of 240 hostages by Hamas, which took place a month ago, which exposed the country’s vulnerability and triggered a wave of massive protests.
Netanyahu, who was already facing protests over his controversial judiciary reform project in the months before the conflict, saw his popularity plummet even further in the face of the government’s inability to guarantee the safety of citizens and the release of hostages. The situation worsened when protests spread across the country, culminating in demonstrations in front of the premier’s residence in Jerusalem, calling for new elections.
Public opinion polls reflect the population’s growing dissatisfaction with Netanyahu. According to a survey by the Lazar Research Institute, 73% of the population do not consider him the right person to govern Israel. Furthermore, a poll by Israel’s Channel 13 revealed that 76% of respondents believe Netanyahu should resign, and 64% support holding elections immediately after the end of the conflict.
The main point of disagreement between Netanyahu and the people is the prime minister’s refusal to take responsibility for the intelligence and security failures that allowed the Hamas attack. The public is demanding a retraction and an apology, something Netanyahu has been reluctant to do, fearing it will affect his chances of staying in power.
Members of Netanyahu’s own Likud party have anonymously suggested that the prime minister’s days in office are numbered. The White House has denied rumors that US President Joe Biden expressed a similar opinion during his recent visit to Israel. However, international criticism of Netanyahu’s leadership continues to grow, putting even more pressure on the prime minister.
As Israel deals with the fallout from the conflict with Hamas, the nation also faces an unprecedented political crisis, with an uncertain political future. The only certainty is that the population is crying out for change and accountability, while Netanyahu faces the challenge of holding on to power amid a storm of popular discontent.