Israel’s election campaign, now in its last days, must be the first in which a sitting Israeli prime minister has sought to win over voters by boasting about how much he insulted a president of the United States.
One of the last campaign videos by Benjamin Netanyahu spliced together media clips of US analysts voicing disbelief back in 2011 at the Israeli prime minister’s public humiliation of Barack Obama.
The ad not only described Netanyahu as “lecturing” Obama, but showed him visibly angering the US president by berating him for chasing “illusions” in his pursuit of peace talks with the Palestinians. It closed with Likud’s campaign slogan: “Netanyahu. Right-wing. Strong.”
Netanyahu’s electioneering has rarely been subtle. But after Israel’s attorney general announced during the campaign that the prime minister faced corruption indictments, Netanyahu has had every incentive to plumb new depths.
His officials have stated that his main rival, Benny Gantz, a general he once appointed as military chief of staff, is mentally unstable. One Likud video showed Gantz’s head emerging from a cuckoo clock.
The character assassination has been aided by the leaking of a recording of an off-guard Gantz saying that, if he could have done so, Netanyahu would have had him killed.
Netanayhu’s team also exploited, and possibly leaked, a claim that Gantz’s mobile phone was hacked by Iran….