Can Netanyahu Lose?


Sarah & Benjamin Netanyahu

 

Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has been facing legal troubles as Prime Minister of Israel. This is too bad since I’ve had admiration for Bibi for thumbing his nose at a corrupt Obama, the Antisemitic United Nations, and allowing Jewish settlements to proceed in Judea/Samaria which is legitimately Israel’s land contrary to the propaganda of the fake-people known as Palestinians. LET’S ALSO STIPULATE that Netanyahu has stood against Iran’s nuclear weaponry ambitions when Obama was willing to wink to a faux slow-down only to allow future nuke armament.

 

Bibi’s legal woes seem to be making inroads against his government’s reelection in upcoming April elections. Since Israel is a Parliamentary system, governments are elected by political party coalition blocs. Apparently past political allies are breaking away hoping to form their coalition bloc for government.

 

JRH 2/25/19

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Can Netanyahu Lose?

BIBI’S BALANCING ACT

 

By JOSHUA KRASNA

February 21, 2019

The American Interest

 

This April’s elections in Israel are no longer a sure thing for Netanyahu, but even with his rivals teaming up against him, the race is still Bibi’s to lose.

 

In recent weeks, the Israeli elections, called for April 9, 2019, changed from a sure thing for Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu to something approaching an actual race. The election is still Netanyahu’s to lose, but it certainly has become more interesting.

 

On December 26, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), in which Netanyahu’s government has a thin but stable majority, voted to disband itself and to move up the elections planned for November 2019. The proximate cause was Netanyahu’s desire to receive a renewed mandate from the public in the face of the possibility of criminal indictments being issued against him (one has already been issued to his wife) by the Attorney General, and Netanyahu’s declared intention not to resign if indicted. Netanyahu probably assessed that in the political constellation existing at the time none of the other heads of party in the Knesset had the stature to defeat him.

 

In September, Lieutenant General (res.) Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, the former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), had ended the compulsory three-year “cooling-off period” for retired senior officers. This event was widely anticipated by Netanyahu’s opponents, and there had been much speculation—and elements of a “bidding war”—regarding his joining an existing party. On December 27, Gantz registered a political party by the name of “Israel’s Resilience (Hosen L’yisrael).” On January 29, Gantz announced that his party had unified with the Telem list headed by former Chief of General Staff and Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon, who would be number two on the combined list. On the same day, he gave his first, much anticipated programmatic speech, which was well received.

 

Since then, Gantz has become the main challenger to Netanyahu. On February 21, after a lengthy tug-of-war with the former front runner of the opposition, Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party (who felt he, as the more experienced politician, should be at the top of the list), the two parties agreed to run on a joint list, called “Blue-White” (the colors of Israel’s flag), with Gantz first on the list, Lapid second and Yaalon, third. Lapid had been under significant public pressure by the anti-Netanyahu camp, which feared splitting its vote, and that cannibalistic infighting in the Center would only help Netanyahu. The two parties have agreed that if the joint list is able to form a government, Gantz would serve as Prime Minister for the first 30 months, and Lapid for the next 18.

 

While handicapping polls is a mug’s game, it appears that since Gantz’s Israel’s Resilience has been running at around 20 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in the polls, and Yesh Atid at 10-12, the combined list is running neck-and-neck with Netanyahu’s Likud party, which is polled at around 30 seats (similar to their current number).1 It may even enjoy a bounce due to the merger. This is dramatic, since Gantz’s party didn’t even exist before late December.

 

Netanyahu’s strategy now largely consists in attempting to besmirch his rivals’ records (slightly problematical, since both Gantz and Yaalon served him as Prime Minister), and piling up achievements that highlight his political and security experience. This includes taking credit, after a decade of useful ambiguity, for attacks on Iranian targets in Syria; stressing diplomatic successes with Arab and Muslim states, including visits to Oman and Chad; spotlighting his close relationship with the current U.S. President and his willingness to irritate his predecessor; and taking an outsized role at the recent Warsaw Summit. (His arranging to host a summit, in Israel, of the Visegrad Group states—Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia—did not work out as planned: When Netanyahu and his freshly appointed Foreign Minister made remarks that annoyed the Poles, the summit was summarily cancelled.) But will the strategy work anyway?

 

To answer that question we have to look at a series of deeper political trends in Israel. The first is that Israel has a tradition, since 1977, of “flash-in-the-pan” center parties, which do very well in their first election cycle and then dwindle away—either by losing support or by being absorbed into a larger party—by the next cycle or the one after. Israelis have for many years been unimpressed by the choices given them by the Right and the Left, and by their leaders, and so have plumped for new faces promising a “third way.” In the past 42 years, the following center parties have come and (mostly) gone:

 

  • 1977—Democratic Movement for Change—15 seats (the third largest party in the Knesset).

 

  • 1981—Telem (Dayan)—2 seats, Shinui -2 seats.

 

  • 1984—Yachad—3 seats.

 

  • 1996—Yisrael Ba‘aliya—7 seats, The Third Way—4 seats.

 

  • 1999—Shinui (new)—6 seats, Center—6 seats.

 

  • 2006—Kadima—29 seats (the largest party in the Knesset, in both this and the 2009 elections), Pensioners—7 seats.

 

  • 2013—Yesh Atid—19 seats (second largest party), Hatnua—6 seats.

 

  • 2015—Kulanu—10 seats.

 

These parties—with the notable exception of Kadima, formed by breakaway, very senior members of Likud and Labor—were often headed by non-politicians or unconventional politicians and strove to create lists of mostly non-political candidates “untainted” by previous service in the legislature or government. Yesh Atid itself was founded in 2012 and only entered the Knesset in 2013; Lapid was then a media personality and political newcomer. “Israel’s Resilience” is, therefore, only the latest example of a long tradition in Israeli politics.

 

The second trend that Gantz’s meteoric rise illuminates is a recurrent longing on the part of the Israeli public for a “man on horseback”—a politically unsullied general who rises above mere politics yet is a proven “safe pair of hands.” This phenomenon is partly due to the centrality of security concerns in Israel, but also to the high level of trust in the IDF in Israel, as opposed to political institutions. According to the Israeli Democracy Institute’s Annual Index, the IDF is the most trusted institution by 78 percent of the general public, as opposed to the media (31 percent), the government (30.5 percent), the Knesset (27.5 percent) and political parties (16 percent). Political debuts by generals into Israeli politics have known their ups and downs over the years, and once engaged, most generals have not proven themselves significantly different in their political and executive capabilities than their civilian counterparts. Be that as it may, half of the “third way” parties listed above were headed by a former general or senior security official. In addition, many civilian parties seek the “ballast” that former generals or security officials can provide to their civilian-led lists (witness Labor’s recent “parachuting” of a retired general to their number two slot).

 

Unlike in most states, however, the Israeli electorate’s desire for the involvement of former generals in politics does not necessarily stem from a conservative worldview. To the extent that the IDF command level can be said to have a political orientation or culture, it has been, for the past thirty years at least, moderate. Of the three former generals to have become Prime Minister, two—Itzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak—headed the Labor Party, and one—Ariel Sharon—broke with his Likud Party to form the centrist Kadima. The majority of generals and former senior security officers who have gone into politics in Israel’s history entered Left and Center parties.

 

In any case, the addition of Yaalon to Gantz’s list, and the addition of yet a third former Chief of General Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, present a serious challenge to Netanyahu’s self-professed image as “Mr. Security,” and to a campaign strategy that stresses his foreign policy and national security expertise and experience.

 

A third trend in Israeli politics highlighted by the current race is the increased difficulty of coalition building. No large party has ever been able to form a government entirely on its own in Israel; the government has always been a coalition. The head of the party with the most votes is the one Israel’s President first asks to form a coalition government. In 2009 Netanyahu was able to form a government by bringing in the Labor Party under Ehud Barak (against the opposition of many luminaries within Labor); in 2013 Yesh Atid gave him the majority, and in 2015 Kulanu joined his coalition.

 

In the past, creative coalition-making was eminently possible. In recent years, however, the political system has hardened. The chances are vanishingly small that the parties to the right of Likud will join a Left or Center-led government. However, many of their leaders are personally ill-disposed toward Netanyahu, and may be positioning themselves to try to take over Likud if Netanyahu is forced from office. The Arab party bloc will not join a right-wing government, but has a significant problem with the Center parties, which, in their desire to woo voters from Likud, often venture into problematic rhetoric and policies from the perspective of Arab citizens. The ultra-orthodox parties, which used to be ideologically flexible on security and foreign affairs and have joined Left and Center governments in the past, have in the Netanyahu years become ever more oriented toward the Right, in consonance with the political leadings of their electorates.

 

It is therefore more difficult in general for parties of the Center and Left to build a coalition, since any coalition that excludes Likud and the right-wing parties would have to include both the ultra-orthodox and anti-ultra-orthodox (Meretz and to a lesser extent, Yesh Atid) parties, which are ideologically incompatible. Otherwise, they would have to depend for their majority on the support of the Arab party(s), which they fear doing since they leave themselves open to claims of “lacking a Jewish majority”—an accusation that haunted the government of Yitzhak Rabin until his assassination.

 

The bottom line: For several decades it has been easier for Likud to form a narrow government than for parties to its Left to do so.

 

The math may work out slightly differently in the coming elections. This is to a large part due to the “electoral threshold,” a mechanism built into Israeli election law, which was designed to prevent the proliferation of small parties, which were perceived to have led to un-governability and government instability in the past. The 11th (1984), 12th (1988) , and 15th (1999) Knessets, for instance, each contained 15 parties, some of which had one or two seats but held the pivotal role in close election results and therefore had inordinate leverage and influence. In 2014, the Knesset passed legislation raising the threshold to 3.25 percent of the vote: Since the Knesset has 120 seats, this meant that the minimum number of seats a party needed to get into the Knesset was four. That, in turn, led to the merging before the 2015 elections of ideologically close parties to ensure reaching the required number of votes, creating the Jewish Home party on the Right, and the United Arab List on the Left. However, personal rivalries and stubborn ideological differences within these “portmanteau parties” have caused them to collapse: Labor’s Gabbay unceremoniously dissolved his alliance with Tzippy [sic] Livni, who after 20 years (including an electoral victory in 2009 that she was unable to translate into a governing coalition) recently announced her retirement from politics; the Jewish Home split into three parties; and the Arab List has split into at least two.

 

This could have led to the discounting and “loss” of a substantial number of votes on the far Right, since they will be spread too thinly over too many parties. In addition, Kulanu, Netanyahu’s Right-Center partner, may not pass the threshold. This would strengthen the larger parties, including their ideological enemies (Israel’s Resilience/Yesh Atid). Netanyahu therefore put unprecedented effort into convincing the two remaining modern-Orthodox, pro-settler factions in Jewish Home (whose leaders, Naftali Bennet and Ayelet Shaked, split to form the own, secular, party, the New Right), to join with “Jewish Power” (Otzma Yehudit), a far-right racist party not in the current Knesset. This would ensure that votes cast for these three parties’ would not be dustbinned due to their not crossing the threshold. Netanyahu has promised the resulting, new, far-right portmanteau party the Education and Housing Ministries and two seats in the Security Cabinet; He also promised to put their representative in the 28th place on his own Likud list, from which that representative would return to the new party after the elections. This strategy should strengthen the Right bloc and prevent the erasure of votes. But it is also risky, since some “soft” Likud and Jewish Home supporters are dismayed by the entry of the racist, and perceived anti-democratic, Jewish Power into their camp.

 

With the reshuffling of the party decks and the creation of a new balance between the Center-Left and the Right, the ultra-orthodox parties may return to their traditional balancing role.

 

Lastly, it is important to note the decline of the Left in Israeli politics. Labor, which as recently as 1992 had 44 seats in the Knesset (and 34 in 1996), had 19 seats in 2006, 13 in 2009, 15 in 2013, and 24 in 2015, after it joined with the remnants of Kadima under Livni. The most optimistic predictions say it will win 10-11 in the next Knesset. Meretz, the Zionist party to the left of Labor, which had a peak of 12 seats in 1992, has five seats in the current Knesset, and is expected to achieve a similar result in the next elections, if it doesn’t disappear entirely due to the election threshold. Livni’s party, the rump of Kadima, has folded. Why has this happened?

 

The perceived failure of the Oslo process, and of the unilateral withdrawals from Southern Lebanon (2000) and the Gaza Strip (2005), key policies of Left- and Center-led governments; the continued stalemate on the Palestinian issue (attributed by the majority of Israelis to a lack of a viable Palestinian partner, especially since the split in 2007 between the Gaza Strip under Hamas and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority/Fatah); as well as demographics, have moved the midpoint of Israeli politics to the Right. Centrist (or even right-of-center) parties like Yesh Atid and Israel’s Resilience are delegitimized as “leftists”—a term of opprobrium in Israeli political discourse today: The actual Left is largely seen as irrelevant. Recent internal developments in Labor seem to indicate that the party is shifting from seeing itself as a potential ruling party to a democratic-socialist “woke” opposition, which may explain the internal pressures to merge with Meretz on its Left.

 

The overarching dynamics of the system as sketched above still work to Netanyahu’s advantage. He enjoys the powerful benefits of incumbency, with its accompanying ability to largely shape the political, diplomatic, and media agenda. His base disregards his legal problems, either seeing them as the product of a conspiracy by left-leaning elites and the deep state or shrugging them off as peccadillos that should not bring down a strong and effective leader (especially since they would return “the Left” to power).

 

To win, Netanyahu only needs his current coalition to do no worse than before in the aggregate; the election is his to lose. However, Netanyahu’s legal issues and increasingly polarizing political style, combined with possible loss of seats due to inability of prospective coalition partners to pass the electoral threshold, may have opened a narrow path to victory for a “clean-hands” rule-of-law candidate of the Center-Left.

 

Even if Netanyahu is elected, it is not at all clear that the indictments (which are expected to come before the elections despite the Prime Minister’s ferocious efforts to push them off) and the court process they will engender, will allow him to remain in office through his term. So whatever the results of this election, expect more political reshuffling and possibly even another round of elections in the not-so-distant future.

1A word of caution: Public opinion polls in Israel historically slightly underestimate support for Likud.

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Joshua Krasna, a former senior Israeli civil servant, lives in Israel, teaches at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, and is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, as well as a fellow of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.

 

About The American Interest

 

Since its founding in 2005, The American Interest has been one of the leading sources for understanding American policy, politics, and culture. Launched in the wake of the crisis triggered by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, TAI sought to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding separating Americans and their counterparts in other democratic countries. In that time, it has evolved from a bimonthly print journal into a unique multiplatform media organization featuring analysis, opinion, reviews, and podcasts.

 

Understanding America and its role in the world means focusing not only on U.S. foreign and domestic policy, but also uncovering the sources from which those policies arise, in American politics, culture, and society.

 

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States and the global populist surge, our mission—“to explain America to the world, and the world to Americans”—has grown even more urgent. While many media sources today have built business models around catering to popular appetites for outrage and hyper-partisanship, TAI remains committed to hosting evidence-based arguments and open contestation over values. As TAI founder and Chairman Francis Fukuyama has said, “Viable democracies require deliberation and disagreement. It is our hope that reestablishing a vital center will reconnect America with itself, and America with the world as we confront similar challenges.” (Published on: May 23, 2018)

 

Farewell to Netanyahu


Benjamin Netanyahu 2011

By Ari Bussel

Editor: John R. Houk

1/31/15

 

Ari Bussel writes a bit of a eulogy for Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel. This is essay is less of a criticism of Netanyahu and more of a – Netanyahu’s time has gone full circle and it is inevitable for new Israeli leadership to take the reins of leadership to keep Israel a sovereign Jewish State.

 

If you have read any of the blog posts here in the past you know that I am a staunch Christian Zionist that supports the concept of a Jewish State embracing the full Biblical capacity of its borders. That means a one united Jerusalem with full sovereignty over the more correctly called Judea-Samaria labeled as the West Bank named as such after British-led Jordanian troops (then the Transjordan Arab Legion) vanquished the newly independent Israeli forces standing for Israel in 1948. Jordan’s King Abdullah annexed the area west of the Jordan River as part of a sovereign Jordan. Does anyone ever wonder why five or six invading Arab armies – including a contingent of pretend Palestinians – sought to destroy independent Israel in 1948 and yet Jordan annexes land west of the Jordan River rather than establishing an independent Jew-hating Arab State called Palestine?

 

The Israeli Right – Israel’s version of a religious Right – may not appreciate my Christian Zionist reasons for supporting Israel. My reasoning is centered on prophecy that Israel needs to exist as at least one condition for the return of Jesus Christ. Not a popular thought of either Jewish Left or Jewish Right. History has given Jews ample reasons to mistrust Christians via a millennium antisemitic dealings by Christian religious leaders and Christian Kings that have led to expulsions, forced conversions and violent pogroms.

 

In my own personal views, my take on Jews accepting Christ as their Messianic Deliverer depends more on Jesus’ return than any Christian evangelism. For me this is especially the case with Jews worldwide and in Israel being fractured religiously and secularly in their life outlook. Why mandate something that is in God’s hands. Does anyone have a clue for the reason Jews have remained a distinct people even after they were kicked out of their own land and have existed under persecuted circumstances from Christians, Muslims, Communists, and Nazis and probably even a longer list? The Jews are in God’s Hands as the People of Promise regardless to what any non-Jewish person believes in any kind of antisemitic stand.

 

Anyway … I really don’t want to take away from Ari Bussel’s essay with my Christian-Right-Zionist rants. Oops, I already did.

 

There a couple of people in Ari’s essay you should look up on your own.

 

If you are an American following Israel’s politics even a little bit you are probably aware of the Leftist leadership of Tzipi Livni. Livni has been the promoter of Israel’s ‘Peace in our Time’ appeasement to Arabs calling themselves Palestinians believe ‘Land for Peace’ will solve Israel’s Jew-hatred of Jews.

 

You may not so aware of an emerging leader of the Jewish Religious Right known as Naftali Bennett. Bennett has an interesting One-State Solution involving the three sectors of Judea-Samaria (A, B and C) that guarantees a One Jerusalem and total Arab autonomy yet without national sovereignty. Ari Bussel suspects Bennett will eventually replace Benjamin Netanyahu as the leader of Israel’s Right and seems to indicate Bennett’s ideas will ensure Israel statehood more than Israel’s Leftist ideas.Naftali Bennett

 

I did a little digging on Naftali Bennett. Here is some suggested reading:

 

o   A New Plan for Peace in Palestine (WSJ 5/20/14)

 

o   Why Naftali Bennett Is So Unwelcome in Washington (Hint: Many Israelis Back Him) [Jewish Daily Forward 12/10/14]

 

o   Naftali Bennett’s annexation plan: A report card (972Mag.com 12/25/14)

JRH 1/31/15

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Farewell to Netanyahu

 

By Ari Bussel

Sent: 1/30/2015 9:06 PM

 

The current Netanyahu government was not only the longest-serving but likely one of the strongest in recent memory.  But like all things, it is coming to an end, as it must.

 

Holding on to power is addictive, and those at the helm are thus reluctant to relinquish the power, explaining to one and all, and persuading themselves first and foremost, that they are the only viable alternative.  Except in life, I learned long ago in the military, everything is replaceable; everything has its time.

 

On March 17th, a new election will take place in Israel, and if I gauge the blowing winds correctly, President Rivlin will task the formation of the new coalition government on the “Zionist Camp” (a misleading term self-chosen by the centrist-left party).

 

Be warned, my faithful reader, I neither attempt to be a forecaster nor a prophet, for only fools will do that.  Quite on the contrary, I sense those very subtle vibrations under the surface, the whims and whispers no one expresses out loud but that can be felt radiating from Israel’s being.

 

In every election, there is a tipping point where one can feel the momentum gathering and a shift toward one side or another (or against all sides altogether, when there is very little interest in an election cycle).

 

Much can change in the next forty-some days, although the overall discontent with Netanyahu is palatable.  Is this surprising?  Not in the least.  The academia, media and judicial echelons have long shifted toward the left, and Netanyahu, for them, is an obstacle; a most formidable, thus requiring crushing.

 

In and of itself, this last statement is a great testament to the strength and true value of Netanyahu.  Like Israel – the only obstacle in the spread of radical Islam to establish a global Islamic Caliphate – Netanyahu is the only fort standing tough and stubborn against a majority of Israelis who befell to the nonsense of “peace”-by-sacrifice.  (No rational human being will enter into “peace” when the other side capitulates in advance, inviting – just hit me more, please, do as you please.)

 

Netanyahu is not very concerned, so it is felt, with the common person.  Thus, Israel has become a country of haves and have-nots, with the abyss between the two ever growing.  I feel it too, and I should not, for I am but a casual observer, a visitor.

 

As for the majority of Israelis – those who live very well, travel regularly overseas and generally enjoy life – Netanyahu’s realistic approach to life in this neighborhood is an affront to their delicate senses.

 

I am already preparing a clean handkerchief and feel the anger building up inside me:  How dare Netanyahu be the only obstacle to Peace in Our Lifetime (well, he and the “Settlers” of course)?!!

 

They – Israel’s majority – want peace.  They do not want to serve in the military or in reserves any more.  They want “two people, living side by side in peace,” and long ago they befell the euphoric mirage of “just give back the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and peace will imminently arrive.”  [There are not enough double quotes to correct the numerous fallacies in the previous sentence.  Each word shouts to be corrected, but let us leave them alone for a moment. (Blog Editor: Bold Text mine – not in original)]

 

Israelis are a very smart people, and yet they act in most irrational manners.  For them, Netanyahu is the obstacle to peace, as he stands safeguarding Israel’s security now and in the future.

 

Livni, for instance, the second in command of the so-called “Zionist Camp” has already admitted long ago to the need to divide Jerusalem.  She became belligerent when exposed but will not change her position.  So the battle lines are clear.  There is one true leader with his legs grounded in history, reality and the future, and across there is a leader who talks the same talk the enemy speaks in English to Western ears.

 

When push comes to shove, the two leaders will end up indistinguishable, acting to defend and ensure the survival of the Jewish state.  Except, one was complicit in bringing the day when drastic measures are necessary (and was busy blaming the other), while the other did everything possible to prevent that day from coming.

 

Israelis, exactly as happened in the USA six and two years ago, will most likely bring about a new government, and oust Netanyahu for good (for once out of the system, a new leadership will emerge, like a new life sprouting after a forest fire).

 

Democrats have lawfully elected and re-elected President Obama, issues of Mickey Mouse and some dead people voting or voting multiple times notwithstanding.  Thus, we – Republicans – cannot complain and have to respect the person sitting in the White House, or at the very least the Office of the President.  This said, we are praying constantly there will be a US of A to save once this ordeal is over, that the damage inflicted will leave us able to stand up and rise again.

 

What will be in Israel?  Israelis must learn a lesson, the hard way.  My father, Dr. Bussel, says that for education we pay.  The same will be true in Israel. 

 

A majority is convinced that the way for peace and prosperity is by relinquishing any right we have.  Judea (the root of the word Jewish) – needs to be given “back.”  Jerusalem (the very beating heart of our being) – is de facto to them “divided” (how quickly do these “Zionists” forget 1967 and 1948 and the forever United Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as they apparently oblivious to the two thousand year craving for Zion Jerusalem).

 

So strong is the urge to have the center-left rule, once again, that Israelis feel an urge and will stop at nothing to make it happen in the upcoming election.

 

The President then tasks the formation of a new government to the head of the party most likely to succeed in building a coalition of more than 60 members (more than half the 120 members of the Knesset).

 

What does the Future Hold / Is Israel doomed? [Bold Text Editor’s]

Unlike the USA during the last presidential election (and at the moment in the upcoming election), there is a viable alternative in Israel.  He is not a “one-timer,” candidate of the flavor-of-the-moment.  He has proven himself time and again.  He stands on a firm basis of ideals and values, and he is willing to try and fail.  What he lacks in experience, he gains in motivation and willingness to err and rise again.

 

His name is Naftali Bennett, and he heads a party The Jewish Home (Habait Hayehudi).  The party is likely the third largest at the moment, but in the high seas, as every wave threatens to swallow whole a tiny ship called Israel navigating the rough waters, it can turn to be the largest party and Bennett be assigned the task of forming the new government.

 

Bennett is made of the same matter true leaders are made.  Definitely Begin, Golda, even Ben Gurion.  But do not let this analysis or momentary comparison go to his head.

 

Politics, Everywhere

 

The United States, currently playing poker and politics all at once, must be ready.  On the one hand, the President refuses to meet with Netanyahu just weeks before the upcoming elections, on the other hand, a full contingency of his election advisors is here in Israel to make sure that “Bibi goes home.”  I will not be surprised if the American Embassy in Israel keeps meddling in Israeli political affairs as it has done continually in the service of the Commander in Chief.

 

It is indeed an end of an era; Netanyahu’s.  A new label was recently attached to Netanyahu, “the modern-day Churchill.”  But does Netanyahu really need to talk before another joint session of Congress?  Is it not up to us – Americans – to decide if we want a reconciliation and submission to the Iranians, a la President Obama, or standing firm, as do Russian and China?  Do we need a foreign leader, Netanyahu, to come and tell us the folly of our ways?  One must remember:  Many Americans still believe in our President, so we too will eventually pay a price.

In a very similar manner, Israelis will pay a dear price if Livni and her cohorts are to lead Israel after the elections.  Except, that in politics, contrary to all expectations, it may be neither Netanyahu nor the so-called “Zionist Camp.” 

 

Netanyahu has done tremendous things for Israel, but a new generation is about to take his place.  Bennett does not talk about being the next prime minister, making him the perfect candidate and the more serious of all.  Humility is a virtue, and a man displaying this and other traits inside, not as a peacock displaying his feathers, is indeed deserving to lead the country.

_________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between Zager and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.

 

Ari Bussel and Norma Zager collaborate both in writing and on the air in a point-counter-point discussion of all things Israel-related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

 

© Israel Monitor, January, 2015

 

First Published January 30, 2015

Contact:  bussel@me.com

 

Livni Two-State Population Exchange


Tzipi Livni is waiting for a sign regarding her return to poltiics, rather than determining her own destiny. Photo by Yani Yechiel

John R. Houk

© January 1, 2014

 

Yesterday Caroline Glick posted this article on her website: Dumping irrationality as a national strategy. I like Glick because she is no fan of the so-called land for peace Two-State Policy that robs Israel and Jews of their national heritage. I haven’t read Glick’s book entitled “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East”. From those I have read that talk about Glick’s “Manifesto” advocating a One-State Solution for Israel and the Arabs that call themselves Palestinian, they imply the Glick advocates outright annexation of Judea-Samaria and Gaza and then give the Arabs full citizenship. I am not so sure I am on board with that path, but I would love reading her book to see if her thoughts do have an actual solution. At any rate the Obama-Kerry solution of forcing Israel to give up land and release murdering Islamic terrorists from prison is definitely an unacceptable path for Israel’s existence and to perpetuate Jewish heritage.

 

If President Barack Hussein Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have their way this land for peace garbage will also take away the eternal holy city of the Jews in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. History and the Bible are a good enough argument that the lands Islamic terrorists desire to usurp to create a Jew-hating nation are very important geographical locations to all of Judaism. In Glick’s article she is particularly scathing because to appease the Obama Administration Israel has been forced to release Jew-killing prison convicts back into the society governed autonomously by the Palestine Authority (PA) which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas who is also the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which was inherited (or usurped) after Yasser Arafat died (Russian autopsy revelations). 

 

Glick’s article from yesterday is also very critical of the Centrist (though Left leaning in my opinion – Justice Minister) Tzipi Livni. Livni is determined to aid the Arabs in establishing a Palestinian State. She has recently developed a Two-State Solution plan that may be tempting for the Israeli Right to accept. Her solution is a population transfer that is basically a land-swap between Jewish Settlements and Arab populations that are in the minority in Judea-Samaria. For greater clarity this means moving Jews that are surrounded by Arabs into Judea-Samaria areas that are preeminently Jewish. And moving Arabs out of the preeminently Jewish areas of Judea-Samaria into areas that are already an Arab majority. Livni’s plan is astonishingly similar to Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman’s plan which was roundly criticized as being a plan from an extreme Right Wing Israeli. I will be interested how Livni’s plan is received since she has a reputation of pro-Palestinian and more centrist than Right Wing. Incidentally neither Lieberman nor Livni would describe their plans as a population transfer as much as a workable Two-State Solution.

 

Frankly I believe the Arabs that call themselves Palestinian view of a plan for sovereignty will neither a Two-State or One-State Plan, rather their plan is more akin to a Palestinian State Plan that eradicates Jews and Israel altogether. You can go to Palestinian Media Watch to read and see the Jew-hatred and the vitriol against the lives and existence of Israel and Jews in particular sponsored with PA, Hamas and Hezbollah funds.

 

JRH 1/1/14

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Livni Team Thinking Outside the Box: Swap Israeli Arabs for Settlers

By Yori Yanover
January 1st, 2014

JewishPress.com

A senior Israeli source close to the peace negotiations has told Maariv that Israel has proposed to the U.S. a population exchange with the Palestinian state that will not require a physical transfer.

 

The idea is to turn over the “Arab triangle,” where about 300 thousand Israeli Arabs live today in the eastern Sharon Valley (near Netanya), in return for the “block settlements” in Judea and Samaria, which include Gush Etzion, the Shchem area, Maale Adumim near Jerusalem and possibly the Hebron area. Such a swap would also most likely include the Jordan Valley.

 

The proposed swap would not include the “outposts,” which are more scattered and whose legal status is in dispute.

 

From the tone of the official speaking to Maariv, it appears that the idea could catch fire at this point in time, because it is far more likely to be embraced by a majority of Israeli Jews. It’s greatest claim to fame is the fact that it “only” removes 100 to 150 thousand settlers from their homes, a number which many Israelis could live with. This number has been bandied around by Science Minister Yaakov Perry in recent days, as the unavoidable “painful sacrifice” the Jewish state must endure for the sake of peace.

 

Kerry might be tempted to entertain this idea in public, even if he does not end up actually endorsing it, because it would appeal to the right wing in Israel as well as in the U.S. Fewer people get hurt, Israel is rid of part of a significant ethnic minority that can threaten the Jewish character of the state (Remember the ticking demographic bomb? It ain’t ticking so much, as Arab birthrate has been declining, but it still sounds good).

 

Last time this idea was contemplated, by current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, it evoked a very negative, even angry response from the left, and from the Arab Israelis, who accused Lieberman of racism. Hard to tell why physically uprooting Jews is not racism, but merely redrawing the border to the west of an area rather than its east is racist.

 

Of course, the main reason the Triangle Arabs hated this proposal, and no doubt will despise it again, is because they’re nobody’s fools: why move from a Western democracy to a third world PLO (and later Hamas) dictatorship?

 

Also, the 100 to 150 thousand settlers and their loved ones will not be enamoured with the expulsion part. And, of course, the Palestinian negotiators will hate it because, to be fair, it kind of favors Israel, legitimizing upwards of half a million Jewish settlers, while at the same time helping it unload an ancient security problem—the Arab Triangle.

 

In my humble opinion, while I remain certain of the hopelessness of the Kerry effort, beginning to end, I must admit that this is just the kind of out of the box thinking that would boost the near-defunct 2-state solution.

 

Did you hug a released Palestinian terrorist today?
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Livni Two-State Population Exchange

John R. Houk

© January 1, 2014

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Livni Team Thinking Outside the Box: Swap Israeli Arabs for Settlers

 

© 2014 The Jewish Press. All rights reserved.