“Binyamin Netanyahu has turned from a locomotive into ballast” – Kommersant FM

“Binyamin Netanyahu has turned from a locomotive into ballast” – Kommersant FM

Protests have begun again in Israel demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over the weekend, relatives of those abducted by Hamas gathered at his residence. They advocated the start of negotiations with the Palestinian group for the release of the hostages and for a ceasefire. It is noted that opposition leader Yair Lapid also joined the protesters. Kommersant FM columnist Mikhail Gurevich thought about Netanyahu’s political future during and after the war.

Despite ongoing hostilities, political life is rapidly returning to Israel. After October 7, a consensus reigned in society: the war must be ended, and then it will be possible to discuss who is to blame for its beginning, appoint a state commission and begin an investigation.

The possibility of holding early elections also appeared somewhere there, at “six o’clock in the evening.” However, after almost a month and a half of the operation in Gaza, Israeli politicians and Israelis in general have effectively ceased to comply with the unspoken agreement. Former Prime Minister and now opposition leader Yair Lapid said that he no longer intends to sidestep the issue of power, and suggested that the ruling Likud party dismiss Netanyahu and appoint a new head of the cabinet from among its ranks.

Deputies from the coalition majority also almost openly began to criticize the Israeli leadership, suspecting it of a penchant for compromise and excessive pliability to its American allies. Similar sentiments in society were noticed on the most popular TV channel in the country and they resumed weekly polls on the political preferences of Israelis. The results were stunning: trust in Likud fell by half, and, according to sociologists, Netanyahu turned from a locomotive into the ballast of the ruling coalition.

Now the public is actively discussing what to do. On the one hand, there is a saying that horses are not changed at a crossing. But, on the other hand, if the general director of the company led it to a crisis situation, then the shareholders will replace him, and will not wait for the unlucky manager to fix things. Isn’t the persistent narrative about the need to maintain current power during the war as much of an atavism as the day of silence in the Internet era?

And, most importantly, when and under what conditions does the “day after” occur? In the modern world, victory is often the moment it is declared. And it doesn't matter what actually happens. And if, after the defeat of Hamas, the Israeli army begins to deal with Hezbollah, will dissatisfied citizens have to endure until the end of the next conflict?

The history of the Jewish people, and indeed the State of Israel, is not the most logical sequence of events. And, no matter, despite the permanent wars with its Arab neighbors, the country lives and develops successfully.

By the way, relatively recent history contains a high-profile example of a change of leader during a military conflict. In 1940, Great Britain, however, did not vote, but Neville Chamberlain was replaced in Downing Street by Winston Churchill. By the way, in 1945, immediately after his victory, one of the most famous Britons of all time lost the election to Labor and gave up his post to Clement Attlee.

In conclusion, I note that similar questions arise not only in the Promised Land. There are many countries in the world whose leaders consider themselves indispensable due to ongoing hostilities or some very difficult internal political situation. Now is not the time, they say. True, when the right time comes, they try not to tell people for as long as possible.

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