FIRST THERE was the question of Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal popularity, down from a 77-82 percent approval rating at the height of the fighting to 38-50 percent at the war’s seemingly inconclusive ending. He also lost ground in government and in his Likud party.

By the time the guns fell silent in late August the prime minister’s already dysfunctional war cabinet had become a hornets’ nest he avoided convening. And his evident failure to deal Hamas a knock-out blow had malcontents in the Likud baying for his ouster.

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