A Different View on Israel

The End of the Netanyahu Era? And does it matter?

Last week, finally, the Israeli parliament decided (by default) on new elections, the fourth time in less than two years. No doubt a positive development. The current government surely is the worst, the most wasteful, the most corrupt and the most ineffective in the history of Israel and “good riddance” is all that is left to say. Of course, until a new government is sworn in, these incompetents still can inflict incredible damage and nothing guarantees us that the same no-goods will not return in the next government.

The coming months we will probably see one of the ugliest, dirty, election campaigns Israel has ever witnessed and we can only hope that the remnants of the Israeli democracy will survive.

There are numerous issues that split Israeli society, security, politics, economics and religion, but, if you may believe the majority of politicians, there is one thing that appears to create consensus even though not every politician is willing to say it out loud yet: Netanyahu will have to go. On the left side of the political spectrum this is manifested by ever more blatant declarations barring participation in any New Netanyahu government, while on the right side, candidates who want and expect to replace Netanyahu are lining up. Even the Haredim are no longer willing to repeat the “Oath of Allegiance” of the previous elections.

But this “unity” on the wish to get rid of Netanyahu, and the urge to express this, maybe exactly what Netanyahu needs to create sufficient confusion and diversion, to surprise everyone and win the elections. His ridiculous campaign of lies aimed at the Arab population is just the first of many tricks he will use and it may very well work. And he is an expert in choosing the right trick to fool large parts of the population and entice them to vote for him. It apparently is also quite easy. Just two visits to Arab cities, a bunch of lies spewed on Facebook and Twitter, and already the polls show, he will be able to gain two Knesset seats from the Israeli Arabs and the expectations in the Likud are for 3-4 seats. And this is only the beginning.

On the Right, politicians declare their candidacy for becoming Prime Minister, with Bennet and Sa’ar, as well as Gantz, definitely believing they should be the next Prime Minister, even though the latter didn’t yet without make up his mind if he is on the right or on the left. But the result is that three, four parties are vying for voters and none of them will likely reach a position that is strong enough to unseat Netanyahu. The considerable ego of these people will not allow them to compromise and choose one candidate and run on a united front, thus in the most likely scenario, after the elections, with Netanyahu in a position to call the shots, one of them will succumb to the pressure and the promises and join Netanyahu’s government. (like happened last time).

On the Left, the situation is even worse. While “leftists” naturally want Netanyahu out, who are those leftists today? The Labor party is on the brink of disappearing. Meretz remains at the same 4-5 Knesset seats mainly because they are left but are most of the time afraid to say so clearly. The third largest party in the Knesset, a somewhat strange combination of three Arab groups, doesn’t count and is not counted in Israeli politics. So who are the leftist parties? Right, there aren’t any.

 And this leaves, as a contra to the Right, only the “Centrist” parties. Yesh Atid, whose leader Lapid, is centrist only because it leaves him the option to join either side, whoever would suit him (and he joined Netanyahu in the past). Or Yisrael Beitenu? Lieberman has not joined Netanyahu because of the animosity that exists between him and the Prime Minister (an understatement) and because Sara Netanyahu didn’t allow it. And Blue and White? Well even if they will pass the election threshold, who is going to believe or trust them?

The simple analysis above leaves room for only one outcome: Netanyahu will remain in the Prime Minister’s residence, strengthened and more than ever convinced he is the one to “save” Israel and the Jewish people.

The political cunning of Netanyahu has kept him in power (and likely will keep him there) and allowed him to place his spineless cronies in places where they can do his dirty work, but the real reason for the continued rightist religious dominance over Israeli life is much more worrisome. The Israel of today wants to be rightist and religiously dominated. The average Israeli will vote for this party or that party and allow them to fight among themselves and may be even have a good laugh about it, but it doesn’t matter much to him as long as the result will be a right-wing, religious dominated JEWISH government with or without Netanyahu.

The Israeli of today apparently is OK with the continued occupation, with the enduring repression of another people, with the blatantly racist policies and the treatment of anyone not Jewish (especially Arabs but not only) as second class human beings.

The Israeli of today apparently is OK with the ever increasing influence of religion (the Jewish religion) on their daily lives, the increasing emphasis on religion in their children’s education, the continued control over their private lives by religious circles and the never-ending interference of religious leaders with almost all aspects of their lives.

The real reason we will have to put up with Netanyahu (or his right-wing replacement) is because the majority of Israelis wants it, wants his policies and wants his actions and will take his corruption and his never-ending lies as a necessary evil as collateral damage.

We only have ourselves to blame for where Israel is today and as long as the problems we have are not being seen or experienced as problems, there will be no incentive to change things.

  I hope you found this article interesting and I welcome any comments you may have.

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