Amid coronavirus fears, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu sees an opening

As the spread of coronavirus affects virtually every aspect of life in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become a staple of prime-time television. Most evenings, he can be found on the 8pm news broadcasts issuing new instructions and trying to reassure the country of 8.7 million people that everything will be fine.

Netanyahu has called for a national emergency government, consisting of all of the parties in the Knesset — except the Arab parties — to deal with the impact of the coronavirus. “In light of the world and national crisis, we have to unite our strength and form a strong and stable government that can pass a budget and take tough decisions,” he said in a statement Sunday.

But he never included the Joint List of Arab parties, accusing them repeatedly of supporting terror in keeping up with his campaign strategy of attacking the political factions that represent some 20% of the country’s population.