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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: Will the Airplane Formula Work Again?

Status: 23.03.2021 6:52 a.m.

The polling stations are open in Israel. President Netanyahu presents himself as the father of the Israeli vaccine miracle – and as the only capable “pilot” in the country. Is that enough for another election victory?

From Benjamin Hammer,
ARD-Studio Tel Aviv

It was an appointment entirely to the taste of the Israeli Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu received the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Jerusalem.

Benjamin Hammer

Benjamin Hammer
ARD-Studio Tel Aviv

“The world looks at Israel with admiration,” he flattered. “Under your leadership, Prime Minister, Israel is the fastest in the world to vaccinate its people.”

What the guest from Vienna said soon appeared in Netanyahu’s election ads. In this election campaign, too, he presented himself as an experienced diplomat on the world stage – and meanwhile also as the father of the Israeli vaccination success.

Calls to Pfizer at 3 a.m.

“30 heads of state and government called me,” Netanyahu told Israeli television. “They said: We take our hats off to you. Israel is the only country that is successful – because I have procured millions of vaccine doses.”

It is undisputed that he has a share in his country’s vaccination success. The head of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Albert Bourla, recently gave an interview on Israeli television. Netanyahu was obsessed with vaccination, he said. Sometimes the Israeli prime minister called him at 3 a.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his vaccination.

Bild: AP

The timing for Netanyahu is good: just in time for the new election – which he helped bring about – the prime minister is loosening the corona restrictions more and more and justifies this with the high vaccination rate.

“Netanyahu took a very close look at what happened in the US. Donald Trump lost the election there because of Covid-19,” says analyst Ayala Hasson from TV channel 13. “Netanyahu believes that the vaccination campaign will help him. But I believe that a large part of the population has already made a decision regardless of the vaccinations. ”

Opponents call him “Crime Minister”

In the most recent parliamentary election, the Likud party had 36 seats. According to surveys, there could be fewer this time. So many Israelis are not impressed by Netanyahu’s supposed vaccination miracle.

In any case, nothing has changed in the initial situation: He is passionately hated and loved. His opponents call him “Crime Minister”, a minister of crime. His supporters see the corruption charges against Netanyahu as a conspiracy.

The prime minister himself denies the allegations. And tries to talk about the subject as little as possible. “Are you sorry that you accepted gifts from business people and that you might fail as a result?” Asked a TV host. “You can ask that over and over,” said Netanyahu. I answer that with a melody. ”

The moderator was taken aback. Such a level just doesn’t fit the prime minister’s office, he said.

Do worn-out formulas still work?

If Netanyahu wins a clear election victory, his coalition could provide him with parliamentary immunity. However, the surveys do not currently reveal such a scenario.

And so Netanyahu is fighting for more than the office of prime minister: It is about his political, but always also about his criminal future. His main argument: only he can lead Israel. Israel is like an airplane. His competitors don’t know how to control it. He and his party, on the other hand, do.

“We know how to control the aircraft of the State of Israel. We have proven that” – he has often said it in one way or another in recent years.

The formulas are a bit worn, but have made Netanyahu successful in the past. The big question is whether that will also be the case with this election.

Between “Vaccination Champion” and the dock: Portrait of Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Hammer, ARD Tel Aviv, 22.3.2021 · 13:01

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