Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, finds himself increasingly isolated and unpopular as his leadership faces mounting criticism. Recent polls show that his popularity among Israeli Jews is at a mere 4 percent, and both his allies and opponents are calling for his resignation once the current war ends.
Experts point to Netanyahu’s handling of a significant intelligence security failure as a major factor in his dwindling support. His government has been accused of negligence in allowing Hamas fighters to breach border fences and attack southern Israel, resulting in the death of 1,200 people. A staggering 94 percent of Israelis place at least partial blame on Netanyahu’s government for the events of October 7.
One of the main sources of discontent with Netanyahu’s leadership is his perceived lack of interest in securing the release of over 200 Israeli captives held by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza. While some progress has been made through mediation efforts led by Qatar and other nations, Netanyahu has refused a larger deal for a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of more hostages. Reports suggest that Palestinian groups offered to release at least 50 of the hostages, but Netanyahu rejected the proposal.
Despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire, Netanyahu has maintained the support of US President Joe Biden. However, experts speculate that the patience of the Biden administration may wear thin if demands for a ceasefire continue to escalate.
Not only is Netanyahu losing support from the international community, but his own base is also growing restless. Frustrations with his government’s handling of the conflict have led some members of his Likud party to consider changing the existing political landscape. Public figures, such as Yehiel Zohar, the mayor of Netivot and a Likud member, have openly criticized Netanyahu’s government and indicated a desire for change.
The far-right factions that have traditionally supported Netanyahu are now even showing signs of discontent. Dissatisfaction with his handling of the conflict has strained the relationship between Netanyahu and influential right-wing figures, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
As Netanyahu’s popularity wanes, rivals like former Defense Minister Benny Gantz are seizing the opportunity to challenge his authority. Gantz, who also sits on Netanyahu’s war cabinet, has gained traction among those seeking an alternative to the current prime minister. However, it remains unclear whether Gantz can successfully displace Netanyahu, as other critics have refused to align themselves with the prime minister’s camp.
In the face of mounting opposition, Netanyahu’s tenure hangs in the balance. Calls for his resignation are growing, and the future of Israeli leadership remains uncertain.