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Israelis block roads during a protest in Jerusalem.

Bibi goes under the knife amid mounting protests

Protests erupted in Israeli cities this weekend over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the country's six-month war against Hamas. The demonstrations, reminiscent of last year's protests over judicial reform, reflect how Israelis are increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress in forging a cease-fire deal and securing the release of the remaining Israeli hostages kidnapped on Oct. 7, 2023. On Sunday, roads around the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, were jam-packed with protesters demanding early elections.

Bibi's delicate dance: If he gives up Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages or forges a cease-fire, he could lose part of the right flank of his coalition. He could also lose the ultra-Orthodox parties keeping him in power if he doesn't find a happy middle ground on ultra-Orthodox military conscription exemptions.

Bibi pushed back against criticism on Sunday, saying he has done everything he could to free the hostages. He also reiterated the plan for a military offensive in Rafah. While few expect Netanyahu to speed up his timelines anytime soon, he will be slowing down for the next few days: He had successful hernia surgery last night under full anesthesia and is now in recovery.

The ultimate politician, Bibi has sidestepped political landmines for years. We'll be watching to see whether the building pressure is something he can withstand.

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