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Netanyahu’s Foreign Policy Is Bad for Israel

The Costs of Befriending Illiberal Leaders

Netanyahu and Putin at the Kremlin, Moscow, July 2018. REUTERS

The moment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called early elections last December, Israel’s political parties sprang into action, reshuffling themselves at a pace that was frenzied even by Israeli standards. All of them hope to be next in line; after a decade of practically unrivalled leadership, Netanyahu may finally be vulnerable.

The long-serving prime minister faces a thicket of corruption investigations. New political forces are challenging one of his core claims to power, that he is the exclusive defender of Israel’s security. A recent poll showed that nearly half of Israelis do not want him to serve another term, and just over one-third do. Netanyahu will still be hard to beat, but he is clearly rattled. In addition to wily campaign tactics, he is using his stature as Israel's top statesman to boost his popularity. He is aggressively marketing his foreign policy achievements, and may be planning new

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