April 2, 2020

The Four Messages of Netanyahu’s Primary Victory

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the media in his residency in Jerusalem February 28, 2019 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun

This is exactly how you take a lemon and make a lemonade out of it. Prime Minister Netanyahu was challenged from within his own party. This could have been the beginning of the end. But he made it into something else. Maybe a beginning of a new beginning. He won decisively against rival Gideon Saar (with more than seventy percent of the vote) and achieved four things.

One – Sending a clear message that he is not yet dead, and that betting against him is still politically dangerous. His Likud colleagues watched and learned.

Two – Reminding everybody that he is still the best politician in town and that losing twice in the general election, as painful as it is, does not necessitate a third defeat. He might be able to pull it off.

Three – Warning the legal system that a decision to send him home could lead to chaos. Likud voters want him as their leader, and no court could change that.

Four – Rediscovering the power of the rally. For too long Netanyahu relied on social media and videos, but working against Saar was different. He had to go out and meet the voters. And suddenly he seemed to enjoy doing it. It reinvigorated a party and a leader. No doubt, in this election he is going to do it much more.