If rumors that the Obama administration has helped efforts in Israel to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are real, the U.S. has crossed "a red line," says Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Jeremy Bird, a top operative in President Obama's 2008 and '12 campaigns, has been mobilizing a get-out-the-vote effort for Netanyahu opponent Isaac "Bougie" Herzog, leading to speculation that the White House is linked to it.
"If this is true, this is really crossing a red line because a democracy does not interfere with other democracies' democratic process," Ayalon said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
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"Indeed, if this is true and will be exposed, it may backfire because the Israel public, like other democratic societies, [does not] appreciate outside or foreign interference."
Israelis go to the polls on Tuesday to decide Netanyahu's fate as leader of the Jewish state.
Signs are said to be mounting that the coalition against Netanyahu will triumph in the race for seats in the 120-member Knesset (parliament).
If that occurs, Netanyahu will be replaced as prime minister by Herzog, 54, leader of the Labor Party and heir to a rich family tradition in politics.
But Ayalon — who served as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. from 2002 to 2006 and was Israel's deputy foreign minister — said Netanyahu could still retain his position, even if the polls go against him.
"Our system is more of power sharing and whoever can build the coalition, and that means the prime minister has to get the confidence of 61, the majority, out of 120 members of the parliament," he said.
"So here, if there are more parties that will back 'Bibi' Netanyahu, he can still be the prime minister."
Ayalon said Netanyahu's slide in the polls could be partly owing to "national security fatigue," with Israelis tiring of Netanyahu's unending push for protecting the homeland. But, he added, there is not much difference between Netanyahu and Herzog on the need for strong national security.
"Because of the high cost of living increasing all the time and housing problems, the focus of this election probably is on social and economic problems, as the security is a given," he said.
Iran, meanwhile, remains a growing danger to Israel, according to Ayalon
"Iran is a clear and present danger not just to Israel or the Sunni governments in the Middle East, it's a clear and present danger to the entire international community, including Europe, including the United States," he said.
"They have been so aggressive in their radical policies and pushing terrorism on a global reach with the nuclear umbrella."
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