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Pressure Is Building on Netanyahu From All Sides

As the war between Israel and Hamas approaches the six-month mark, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting rising pressure on multiple fronts, at home and abroad.

He has encountered resistance from protesters, relatives of hostages held by militants in Gaza, the international community, and elements of his own governing coalition, as criticism mounts over his prosecution of the war against Hamas.

“He’s facing a pile-on,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a political scientist based in Tel Aviv. “But he’s responding with maximum possible defiance and minimum possible decision-making.”

Although many Israelis have refrained from protesting against the government during the war, thousands of Israelis on Sunday thronged streets in Jerusalem beside the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, to call for early elections, in one of the most significant demonstrations against Mr. Netanyahu’s government since the war began in October.

Mr. Netanyahu has managed to serve longer than any prime minister in Israel’s history in part because of his political savvy. But his popularity was already in decline before the war, over a judicial overhaul that prompted some of the biggest protests in Israel’s history. It suffered another heavy blow when the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas revealed serious security failings.

He has fired back at people calling for elections, arguing they would paralyze the country for at least six months and prevent it from achieving its aims in the war, which he has said includes a “complete victory” over Hamas.

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