The fatal flaw in Netanyahu’s game plan was obvious to anyone who took Trump’s measure from the outset. It wrongly assumed that the U.S. president could be a stable and dependable partner in advancing Netanyahu’s game plan. It posited that Trump recognized the threat Iran poses to both Israel and the U.S. and that his utmost priority would be to quell it. It did not take into account Trump’s isolationist tendencies or that his only real priority is promoting himself.
It could have ended far worse. If Netanyahu had won a few more Knesset seats, he would have secured immunity from prosecution, set up the most extreme government in Israeli history and finished his demolition derby of the country’s democracy. A rare convergence of favorable circumstances – chiefly the uptick in Arab voter participation, the failure of Kahanist Otzma Yehudit and the indifference of Likud voters – combined to spare Israel from a disaster that would have changed the country forever.