Netanyahu's Latest Extravaganza: Campaigning in His Own Version of a Pope Mobile

The custom armored vehicle, which costs hundreds of thousand of shekels, has drawn criticism among Likud insiders

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol
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Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, following a meeting with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in August.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, following a meeting with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in August.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

In his quest to return to the prime minister’s residence, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has started to campaign from the back of a custom glass-clad truck reminiscent of the pontiff’s so-called Pope mobile.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu address his supporters from a glass armored vehicle on Wednesday.Credit: Screen shot

Dubbed the Bibiba, Hebrew from “Bibi is coming,” the truck made its inaugural appearance in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, where the former Prime Minister addressed a roaring crown from behind bulletproof glass.

According to public broadcaster Kan, Netanyahu’s Likud rented the custom armored vehicle for a cost of 700,000 shekels ($204,317) for a period of 60 days, causing some criticism among party insiders upset at the high cost.

The truck drew immediate ridicule on social media, with former Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Peter Lerner tweeting a picture of the glass fronted truck with prison bars superimposed over its large window, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Netanyahu’s ongoing legal troubles.

A tweet by Peter Lerner shows an image of Netanyahu addressing his supporters behind drawn bars: 'I couldn't resist'

While Netanyahu still enjoys official protection as a former prime minister, his wife and children lost their security details last December after a government committee decided to let their security expire in line with opinions by all security officials.

At the time, Netanyahu slammed the "political decision," which he dubbed as "outrageous, irresponsible and decided in advance." He maintained that there were "explicit threats to murder members of the Netanyahu family,” a claim which was rebuffed by the Prime Minister's Office, which said that the Shin Bet security service “recommended canceling the security of the opposition chairman's family.”

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