Whether the string of scandals, now hounding Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, lead to his sacking or not, it matters little.
Though nearly half of Israelis polled last July – well before the scandals took a much dirtier turn – believe that Netanyahu is corrupt, a majority of Israelis said that they would still vote for him.
A recent survey conducted by Israel’s Channel 10 TV concluded that, if general elections are held today, Netanyahu will garner 28% while his closest contenders, Avi Gabbay of the Zionist Camp and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid will each gather 11% of the vote.
“The next stage, which is drawing near, is for the citizens of Israel to re-elect a criminal as their leader and entrust their fate to him,” a leading Israeli columnist, Akiva Eldar, wrote in response to Netanyahu’s continued popularity, despite accusations of corruption and repeated police investigations.
But Eldar should not be surprised. Political corruption, bribery and misuse of public funds have been the norm – not exception – in Israeli politics.
Alex Roy puts it more succinctly in a recent piece in the Times of Israel: “The fact that (Netanyahu) still has a good chance of being the prime minister after these coming elections says more about how used to corruption we have become than how clean he is.”
Roy wrote that his country “has gotten used to political criminals” simply because “each prime minister over the last quarter century has at some point…