Analysis: Netanyahu’s dream scenario

Prime ministers cannot rest on their laurels. Netanyahu now has his work cut out for him.

Netanyahu cabinet - close 390 (photo credit: Maariv Pool)
Netanyahu cabinet - close 390
(photo credit: Maariv Pool)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu enjoyed rare relaxation time over the Succot holiday.
He spent time at his villa in Caesarea, went to the beach with his grandson and rested up for the election period ahead – that he knew would happen but everyone else could only assume would take place.
Chances are the prime minister also had an opportunity to enjoy deep sleep and dream about his future hopes. Obviously, no one knows what goes on inside Netanyahu’s head, but it is pretty safe to bet his dream went something like this: He woke up on February 1 and looked back on a successful election campaign.
His Likud party had increased in size, the Right-Center bloc took advantage of the splintering of the Left to grow to nearly 70 seats, and it was time to start working on building a new coalition.
“Who should I call first?” the prime minister might have asked himself in his dream world. “The defense minister I pretended to fight in order to help him pass the electoral threshold or my natural partners on the Right?” The dreaming prime minister could then have reached for the phone and decided to call two people: The new US president, Mitt Romney, to thank him for the bouquet he sent, and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, to wish him well in winning a second- straight Superbowl for the team he started supporting when he was ambassador to the United Nations.
Whether or not this is Netanyahu’s fantasy, prime ministers cannot rest on their laurels. Netanyahu now has his work cut out for him.
He is facing an election campaign in which plenty can go wrong: The Likud could pick an ultra-nationalist slate of candidates that could scare away voters. The Center-Left bloc could unite against him.
Thousands of the Likud’s traditional voters from the poorest sectors of the population could vote for a party they agree with on socioeconomic issues, rather than vote on war and peace.
And Netanyahu’s associates have expressed concern in the past that a reinvigorated second-term US President Barack Obama could interfere in the election against him.
In politics, anything is plausible. Dreams can come true, but so can nightmares.
With the prime minister’s announcement, the election campaign has begun. Now politicians in Israel won’t have any time to rest.