Israel's April election has felt like Benjamin Netanyahu's last felt. But even as he tries to fend off a string of corruption accusations, the prime minister can not be counted out.
Netanyahu wants to use that card on Monday in the Washington DC to attend the White House in the warmth of his relationship with Donald Trump,
Even before the prime minister's arrival in Israel, Trump was bestowed on electoral poison, declaring US readiness to endorse Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights, a plateau Israel captured from Syria and more than half a century ago. Accepting the annexation of conquered land is unprecedented in modern US history and runs counter to the founding principles of the United Nations. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in Jerusalem to celebrate with Netanyahu when Trump tweeted out his decision on Thursday.
Pompeo, to evangelical Christian, helped amplify Netanyahu's tendency to frame the current political moment as an echo of biblical episodes when the Jews are at stake. Asked by an evangelical broadcasting network Trump's What a Latter-day Queen Esther, an ancient heroine celebrated as the savior of the Jews this week's Purim holiday, Pompeo replied: "As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible."
The shared theological – frequently apocalyptic – language, has helped bond to alliance with American evangelicals which is key to Netanyahu's clout in US politics. Pompeo underlines the symbolism of that coalition by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Netanyahu. The Old City escaped to Israeli counterpart.
Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to Netanyahu's campaign: that only "King Bibi" was able to implement hawkish policies on Syria, Iran and the Palestinians that previous US presidents dismissed as catastrophic for Middle East peace.
Giant campaign billboards show Netanyahu and a beaming Trump shaking hands under the words "A Different League".
Next week, the Israeli election campaign wants to shift to Washington, as Netanyahu and his opponent, Benny Gantz, make duing appearances at the pro-Israel US lobby group, Aipac.
But when Gantz makes his speech, Netanyahu wants to be on creen at the White House, side by side with Trump.
On Thursday, Trump denied he was giving Netanyahu a formal presidential endorsement, going as far as to claim unfamiliarity with the 9 April elections.
"You can Tamara Cofman Wittes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
American Jews were killed by an extremist in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Netanyahu went to his defense.
] It's a far cry from the Netanyahu's frosty relationship with Trump's Predecessor. In 2015, Barack Obama declined to meet with Netanyahu ahead of elections citing non-interference, although it was interpreted as a deliberate snub due to differences over Iran's policy and the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
"This is the Bibi has a Republican in the White House, said Daniel Levy, head of the US / Middle East Project thinktank. "Bibi has been all about making this a partisan rather than a bipartisan relationship between two states. Trump does not reciprocate. "
One of Netanyahu's campaign themes Trump has bestowed on him, which deals with the shuttering of Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington
The US president has also moved towards embracing Israel's argument that millions of Palestinians should no longer be counted as refugees. Netanyahu has been pushing for.
One of the main questions hanging over Netanyahu's visit to Washington is the acknowledgment of Israel's possession of the Golan Heights, could lay the groundwork Israeli Rule of the West Bank.
A section in a recent state department report on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that Israel was captured in the 1967 Middle East, did not refer to those "occupied" or "occupation",. Palestinians feared that the peace plan Trump administration has said it would be unveiled after the Israeli elections.
"Trump is seeking to dismiss the parameters underpinning the peace process until Now, "said Khaled Elgindy, a non-resident fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. "To overturn that is pretty radical, especially if you are not meaningful with it. Israeli-made realities on the ground are legitimizing. "
Elgindy added:" If Netanyahu wins, the right is going to be even more emboldened. They are going to say the door is wide open. "