Binyamin Netanyahu is down but not out.
Tel Aviv, Sept.20.– Binyamin Netanyahu spent the last two hours of voting in Israel’s general election on September 17th speaking through a camera to an online audience, begging people to come out and vote for Likud, his ruling party, before it was too late. “All the battles I fought as a soldier in an elite unit, all the battles I fought against a president of the United States [Barack Obama], all my other battles in Congress and at the United Nations—I did it for you. And now I’m asking you for something small. Go the polling station. It’s only a five-minute walk.”
As he wheedled and begged his voice grew hoarser. He took phone-calls from fans. Occasionally he stood up to gesture at a map of the Middle East on the wall, pointing to the menace of Iran. At one point, he mockingly showed puppets of his rivals.
It was a bravura and sometimes bizarre performance of an embattled prime minister, frantic for every last vote. For the first time in over a decade he was staring at defeat. As the results came in, they confirmed that he had failed. Likud and the clutch of right-wing and religious parties backing him would lack a majority in the new Knesset.
On May 30th, seven weeks after the previous election, Mr Netanyahu took the unprecedented step of dissolving the Knesset to call for a second election, since he was just one seat short of a majority in the 120-strong parliament. Now he is short by six.
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