After what looks like an almost certain failure to secure a majority in Israel’s election on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t need anyone to tell him about the murmurings within Likud that his own party should start thinking about a change in leadership. He suspects they are there, and have been for a while.
As he arrived at the party’s campaign headquarters at Expo Tel Aviv in the early hours of Wednesday morning, greeting senior Likudniks with forced, tight-lipped smiles, the heavy makeup he wore could not mask the tiredness on his face from days of relentless campaigning and long hours of nonstop online Likud TV broadcasts, in which he harangued right-wingers to go out and vote.
Netanyahu’s speech at a Likud rally, delivered more than five hours after voting ended and exit poll results spelled doom, was a carefully measured attempt to reassert his leadership, while acknowledging, without saying it in so many words, that things have changed. Perhaps irrevocably.
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