Netanyahu and Super Teams

I’ve always been intrigued by super teams. Ever since Lebron James took his talents to South Beach, I’ve been interested in those who join together. After Lebron set the mold, we had Kevin Durant join the 73 win Golden State Warriors.

The Israeli elections in April and September were a story of Bibi Netanyahu versus a super team. Netanyahu, the magician who has held power in Israel for over a decade, was unable to have been beaten by any one leader, be it Tzipi Livni, Amir Peretz or Isaac Herzog. It took a “super team” of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon joining together to form a party to rival Netanyahu. Three parties (Israel Resilience, Yesh Atid and Telem) morphed into one (Blue-White) and combined they could not get more seats than Likud in April 2019. In September they have (barely) succeeded in getting more seats than Bibi’s Likud party.

In this case, a strong leader (a “dominant player”) needs a “super team” to even serve as a rival. Like him or hate him, Netanyahu has been on the forefront of Israel for so long that it took Gantz, Lapid and Yaalon banding together to seriously challenge him. In contrast, when three parties joined together in 2015 (Labor, Hatunah and Green Movement), they had 6 fewer seats than Netanyahu’s Likud.

Closely watching these last two Israeli elections made me fully appreciate the power of Netanyahu and how much it took for an alliance to get more votes than him. Without the corruption charges, perhaps Bibi would have won handily again. Regardless of where one is politically and what the final coalition will be like (or if there will be a third government in Israel) I hope that we can appreciate the power of Bibi-and the need for a super team to challenge his grip on Israel.

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