The Israelis are going to the polls for the second time this year, Tuesday, September 17, to elect their deputies. After the legislative elections in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had failed to gather a majority to govern.
Precisely because of the refusal of his former ally Avigdor Lieberman, former defense minister and leader of the ultra-nationalist Israel Beiteinou party, to join his coalition, forcing him to demand the dissolution of Parliament and the organization of early elections. A first in the history of the Jewish state.
But nothing indicates, according to the latest polls published by the Israeli media, that the equilibrium will be upset by this new poll, whose outcome remains uncertain. The list of Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud, right) and that of Benny Gantz (Blue White, center-right), tied at the top in April, are still neck and neck.
"Lieberman could play the referees of these elections"
For its part, Avigdor Liebermann can hope according to the same polls between 8 and 10 seats, against the 5 obtained in April. Such a result would offer him the role of kingmaker, and place him in a position of strength against a Benjamin Netanyahu who plays his political survival, while he is under threat of possible indictment in three cases of alleged corruption.
"Avigdor Lieberman could play the referee of these elections, said Gideon Rahat, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, interviewed by France 24. After the vote, he could turn to the right or to the left, it he who will choose the new king. "
This perspective gives cold sweats to the Netanyahu camp, confronted with a fractured right and caught between the laity and ultra-religious, themselves divided on issues of society.
During the campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu increased his foot calls to the Russian-speaking community, the electoral booty of Avigdor Liebermann, his former cabinet director born in the former USSR, whom he now calls "leftist". His populist and ultranationalist speeches aimed to siphon the voices of the far right and cut the grass under the feet of his former ally. As part of his seduction operation, the Prime Minister even went to Russia, where he was smiling on President Vladimir Putin on September 12 in Sochi.
Courted by Benny Gantz
For its part, Avigdor Lieberman, known for his diatribes against Israeli Arabs, called "fifth column" and his warlike speeches against the Palestinians, tried to seduce right-wing voters bored by Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power continuously since 2009, an absolute record of longevity in Israel. Some on the right suspected him of wanting to bring down his former mentor by betting on his troubles with the law. Courted by Benny Gantz, who has said he is ready to join forces with him, the former nightclub bouncer with his finely trimmed beard knows he is a must.
If he does not exclude to join again with Benjamin Netanyahu, in the framework of a government of union with Benny Gantz, Avidgor Lieberman intends to make pay very dear the price of its eventual rallying. In a crusade against the clerics, he still demands the adoption of his original form, as he proposed it when he was in the defense, a law canceling the systematic exemption from military service of ultra-Orthodox Jewish youth.
He even made this issue a "matter of principle", to the great satisfaction of his mainly secular electorate, while this requirement was impossible to meet for Benjamin Netanyahu, unless to give up the deputies from religious parties, traditional pillars of the Prime Minister's political strategy. According to the Midgam Research and Advisory Institute, Avigdor Lieberman could get the votes of voters voting for him for the first time, not necessarily Russian-speakers, and attracted by his opposition to the "diktat of religious".
Sometimes nicknamed the Tsar, because of his strong Russian accent, Avidgor Lieberman also wants to impose a nearly 40% increase in pensions, as he had also promised his aging Russian-speaking electorate.
In April, none of his requirements had been accepted by Benjamin Netanyahu.