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What Speech Means for Netanyahu’s Political Future

By Chris Mitchell

CBN News, JERUSALEM, Israel — While in the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a warm welcome and much praise.

Speaking before Congress, he made a strong case against Iran in what some termed the speech heard round the world.

Now that he’s back home, the question is will it make a difference in the upcoming national election.

Some Israeli political analysts say the performance helped his party’s chances, but a lot could happen before voters go to the polls in two weeks.

“For voters who have voted Likud in the past, and now are not sure, that Netanyahu’s [congressional speech] would be an important help for him. Setting the agenda on security issues, I don’t think it clinches the election for him. There’s still a long way to go,” Guy Lurie, with the Israel Democracy Institute, told CBN News.

According to one poll after the speech, Likud gained two seats. It also showed 44 percent of Israelis believe Netanyahu is most qualified to be prime minister.

While the two main parties remain far apart on issues like economics, the rivals agree on the Jewish state’s biggest threat.

“There is not much difference between [Yitzhak] Herzog and Labor and Netanyahu and Likud when it comes to the negotiations with Iran,” Bar-Ilan University Prof. Eytan Gilboa told CBN News.

Surprisingly, many commentators from the Gulf Arab nations stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Netanyahu’s warning to the United States and criticized President Barack Obama’s negotiations with Iran, a country they consider a mortal enemy.

One influential Arab commentator called Obama “the ally of political Islam, [which is] the… mother of [all] the terrorist organizations.”

“I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress,” Saudi columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj wrote in Al-Arabiyah. “I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our Saudi interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents.”

And Times of Israel political analyst Haviv Rettig Gur wrote that Netanyahu’s speech assured “Sunni Arab peoples and governments… [that] Israel will hold the line even if America fails us on Iran.”

While control of the Knesset is at stake in the upcoming election, the results will be felt throughout the region and around the world.

Report via CBN News



 

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