Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz meet in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Hack-a-Shaq is the name given to a defensive basketball strategy of repeatedly fouling a poor free-throw shooter, which was popularized during the heyday of NBA star center Shaquille O’Neal.
It is time for Israelis to get ready for Hack-a-Bibi.
Hack-a-Bibi will involve the other 119 MKs in the Knesset ganging up on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the pullout of IDF troops from the Gaza Strip and the end of Operation Protective Edge.
With notable exceptions, the MKs held their fire while the operation was taking place, showing solidarity with the IDF.
They maintained calm on Tuesday while it was unclear whether the cease-fire with Hamas would hold and what concessions would be made at the negotiating table in Cairo.
But soon ministers and MKs on the Right will start complaining that Netanyahu was soft on Hamas and should have ordered the IDF to take control over the Gaza Strip. They will warn against any diplomatic moves, due to the lessons learned from the operation about the importance of land while terror tunnels are a threat.
Politicians on the Left will of course say the exact opposite.
They will call on Netanyahu to use the talks in Cairo as the basis for restarting negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and taking a regional approach to ending the conflict with the PA.
Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), the most dovish minister in the cabinet, already called on Tuesday for a regional peace conference.
When such a conference took place in Madrid in 1991, one of Israel’s negotiators was its up-and-coming deputy foreign minister Netanyahu.
Yisrael Beytenu leader and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s attempts to differentiate himself from Netanyahu by shifting rightward are expected to get into high gear. Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett will attempt to capitalize on his party’s rise in the polls during the operation.
All that spells headaches for Netanyahu, who enjoyed internal political quiet while he was battling the likes of Hamas, CNN and the BBC.
A Channel 2 poll broadcast on Tuesday found that 63 percent of Israelis believe the prime minister ran the operation well. That is down from more than 80 percent at the peak of the operation but still good news for Netanyahu.
Two polls published last Thursday predicted 30 Knesset seats for the Likud in the next election, up from its current 20.
The polls by Panels and Smith Research predict 72 and 78(!) seats for right-wing parties, respectively, up from the current 61.
It is up to Netanyahu to play the political game wisely and maintain as much of that support as possible, while his political opponents try repeatedly to foul him.
For the troops who left Gaza on Tuesday, their battle is over.
Netanyahu’s political battle has just begun.