Israeli journalist Ben Caspit: ‘It’s beginning of the end for Netanyahu’

On the morning after elections, a popular anti-Netanyahu journalist predicts that the prime minister’s political career is over.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Following the as-yet-unofficial election results on Wednesday showing a right-wing bloc with only 56 mandates, a well-known left-wing journalist predicted that Benjamin Netanyahu’s over 13-year hold on power is over.

Ma’ariv journalist Ben Caspit, who is known for his antipathy to the Netanyahu family, told Nissim Meshal on Israel’s 103 FM that with 91%-to-92% of the vote counted, “There will be no dramatic changes now, maybe one seat will change. But no one is going to get another four mandates from any direction, so [Netanyahu] doesn’t have 61, or is even close to 61.”

Describing Netanyahu’s chances of peeling off members from Blue and White or Labor as “nil,” Caspit said “that we are probably at the beginning of the end of an era.”

For Caspit, it means that Netanyahu would not be able to destroy the judicial branch of the government.

“I think the place they’re breathing the easiest today is the Ministry of Justice. He’s not going to take apart the system,” Caspit said. “You have to understand, he intended to disassemble it. The Supreme Court will apparently not be dismantled [either].”

The veteran newspaperman was apparently referring to a document the New Right party put together in May that contained 16 proposals to reform what they consider to be a runaway Supreme Court. It included an “override clause” that would allow the Knesset to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a majority vote.

In the interview, Caspit also discussed the challenges the judicial branch had been facing as Netanyahu tried to avoid having to face trial for three corruption cases that have been hovering over him for months.

The three, known as Cases 1000, 2,000 and 4,000 involve Netanyahu allegedly helping, or attempting to help wealthy friends get regulations passed for their benefit, in return for favorable news coverage, or expensive gifts. The charges range from breach of trust to fraud and bribery.

A pretrial hearing is set for October 2 before the April elections, in which the prime minister’s lawyers will try to convince Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that the evidence he holds against their client will not hold up in court.