• Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Goose on ‘Deal of the Century’ Rev…
    The Scoop: Why Trump… on The Scoop: Why Trump & Net…
    Phil Fine on Anti-Semitism: See Under Hate,…
    David L. Mandel on Anti-Semitism: See Under Hate,…
    ralph propper on In the land of Israel
  • Top Posts

  • Search by Category

  • Archives

  • Pages

  • Twitter

  • Meta

  • Advertisements

The Big Lie

ynetnews,com

The last Israeli election and its aftermath, combined, has produced a big lie. Unfortunately, that big lie—in which the Israeli media, from left to right, and the international media as well, have participated willingly—is continuing to obscure the truth and outcome of that election. And in so doing, despite the results pointing clearly at a different direction, making it harder on the public at large to digest and understand the outcome, and on the forces of peace and democracy to unite and bring forth the desired change.

Here’s why and how, starting in the beginning. Before the election, the prevailing expectation was for Netanyahu to prevail, no matter the actual results, and form the new government. The politicians, journalists and other observers, based their assumption on two main reasons, or factors: One, the demographic factor, the shift in the Israeli population’s makeup that has been taking place for quite sometimes now. That shift to the right, they were correct to assume, would determine, to a significant degree, the result of the election.

The Sephardic/Mizrachi large segment of the Israeli public is still (almost) uniformly stands behind Netanyahu. No matter that he, and his party, are (mostly) Ashkenazim, and hardly represent Israeli Sephardim; no matter that the Likud party, traditionally, has been shying away from socio-economic issues, which are of significant importance to that population; and no matter that even on security issues—the city of Sderot, hard hit by rockets coming from the Gaza Strip, long demanding of Netanyahu to do much more to secure their peaceful existence—still voted for him in large numbers.

Add to that the large immigration of Russian Jews (and non-Jews) from the 1990s onward. This segment of the population is also solidly on the right, and values power, or the perception of it, above all else. However, they dislike another segment of the population, which contributes so prominently to the shift rightward in Israel. And that is the religious/orthodox segment of the Israeli population. Which is about 10% of the population and growing mighty fast, due to a large birth-per-mother rate. While they are solidly on the right, they are also very pragmatic: Whoever gives them more money to study the Torah, avoid the mandatory army service and the need to work for a living, get their support regularly.

So this trend is true, much in existence, and even growing. But what the politicians, journalists and pundits (to this day) got wrong, once the election results were certified, was the true meaning of that result. First, they declared Netanyahu a winner. He was reelected, with a big margin, etc.—even though he has failed to win the election. He, the leader of a party that is in power, give or take a few years, since 1977; he, the Prime Minister of the last ten years; he, the all-powerful politician, all-adroit manipulator, the ‘Magician; he, who met with Putin three days before the elections; he, Trumps favorite son, who gave him the embassy in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as presents—was able to master only 35 Knesset seats in the election.

The exact number of Knesset seats that Benny Gantz, a general who was never a politician, running for office for the first time, was able—after creating a new party, no less—to master. It was a tie, at best; it was a loss, for Netanyahu, at worse. It was a loss obscures by the inevitable win of the center-right block, which consists of various, not at all the same parties. It was a loss that nobody wanted to see. And then it came crushing down. And it came crushing down because of that one big lie—the proof is in the pudding, as the Americans like to say—and because of the inability, and unwillingness, to face the truth. See straight what Israel is facing.

And what Israel is facing is a deep chasm. A war of the Jews. A war on democracy itself. A war on the character of the Jewish state. A war between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A war between the rule of law and anarchy. A war between the secular, liberal, democratic Israel—which envisioned, created, and built the country—and the fervent religious, extremist segment, who want God, King, and Bible to rule.

That’s why Netanyahu has failed to build a governing coalition. That’s why in the last minute, indeed just before midnight, he avoided doing the right thing, as required by law and tradition—informing the president that he was unable to build a government—and has dissolved the newly elected Knesset. This has prevented the true winner of the election, Benny Gantz and his Blue-and-White party from getting a shot at building the new government. Which, though it seemed unlikely, they had at least an outside chance of accomplishing.

In the upcoming September election Netanyahu’s chances of success are even less certain. His looming indictment proceeding on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, are looming larger now. And the fractions in his own party, his natural coalition partners, and the Israeli society at large grow bigger by the day. So fasten your seatbelts, to paraphrase the immortal words of Betty Davis, as it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

Advertisements

Is Israel Next?

carnegieeurope.eu

There’s a new world order currently in the making, and Israel might be the next country to join this growing club. I’m talking about the assault on liberal democracies by autocratic regimes and leaders throughout the world, most dangerously and significantly in Europe, where the clash is more acute. We have, on the one hand, the old guard: Russia and China (and of course, North Korea and some other smaller countries). The interesting things about Russia and China are three-fold. First, both countries flirted with ‘true’ democracy for a while and are now back to full-fledged autocracy. Second, both countries very much want to be part of the big world, do not hide anymore behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ or the ‘Great Wall.’ They are, if you will, modern theocracies. And third, both leaders were elected ‘supposedly’ by democratic elections (and so was Hitler), and maintain civil appearance and modus operandi.

Let me explain what I mean by modus operandi, since I regard it as the most significant trend. It’s a characteristic most defined by Putin, but also by Jinping, that I find most modernly striking and disturbing. Here goes: They dress nicely in suits and ties; they speak quietly and normally, like you and me; they go about their business very civil-like. No more Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, Castro or Amin; they’re no longer dressed in uniform, army or otherwise; they give no funny salutes, or wear many medals on their chests; not even public mass executions, concentration camps or gulags. No, everything is done business-like, modern-like, stealthy. But the effect and results are. More or less, the same.

And now come the imitators. The managed-democracies, actual-autocracies wannabes. First among them, very Putin-like, Erdogan of Turkey (and in Syria Assad, of course). Second is Duda of Poland, and third, close behind, Orban of Hungary, who just won ‘reelection’ for the third time. These men are all dictators in disguise, modernly attired, with good speaking manners. Some observers see Czechia coming to the fold soon enough, with Italy playing—with Italian style and flare—not far behind. And of course, who can forget that here in America we have our own semi-despot in the form of President Trump. An admirer of the above-mentioned leaders who, should the opportunity present itself, and should the American democracy prove fragile enough, will establish autocracy here in a heartbeat.

Then we have Israel. And Netanyahu: a twin-like leader of Putin and Erdogan, still operating in an Israeli democracy of old, though with disturbing signs for the future. Let’s set aside for now all the other signs and attributes of a strong leader, long in power, good orator, who know how to play the media to his advantage, who blames everybody else for his troubles, and knows how to win elections, using every trick in the book. But in Netanyahu’s case, all these elements being true, there are some new, different elements that make his case unique, and to Jews the world over, liberal or not, very ominous.

So here, to spell it out, one possible scenario. Netanyahu, who still exists in a liberal democracy, Israeli style, is operating under the darkening cloud of police investigations (quite several of them) against him. On some charges, bribery, graft, and the like, the police already concluded the investigation with recommendations to indict. (Others, with severe possible criminal doings, are still under police investigation.) So the ball is now in the hand of Attorney General Mendelblit, a crony and appointee of Netanyahu, who is supposed to rule in the next couple of months whether to indict the Prime Minister in the court of law.

Should he decide against such indictment, all hell might break loose in the Knesset and the streets. However, Netanyahu would claim victory, would say ‘I told you so: These were all lies, manufactured by the police who are out to get me.’ It will be easier for him then to engineer the closing of all the other ongoing investigations, and should he decide to go to new elections, win them big, as all the polls are indicating. In this scenario, he’ll be able to continue his rule in the disguise of fully operating liberal democracy, but with even more power in his hands, and without the cloud of any more police investigations.

The more interesting—and in a way, troubling—scenario is what would happen should the Attorney General would decide to indict Netanyahu. Under the current Israeli law, a minister in the government must resign under such pending indictment. But there’s no word about what the Prime Minister’s obligation is in such a predicament. (A previous PM, Ehud Olmert, resigned in similar circumstances and, indeed, ended up in jail.) Now, should Netanyahu not resign, and continue business as usual, other parties in his coalition, most probably Kulanu, might leave his government. And therefore, as in the other option, early elections would be the solution.

But in this scenario—i.e., a leader of a main party running for reelection while not only under police investigation, but possibly going to court soon—if Netanyahu wins the elections again, as the polls currently are also indicating, and be able to form a government (no problems there, I predict) it would be a clear indication that the Israeli public rather have him in power, even as a criminal, because of what they perceive as his ‘strong leader’ persona. This is not a certainty, but can only be prevented I believe if a strong, united center-left party will be formed, with Labor and Yesh Atid as one body-politics.

Fat chance, I say. And in any case, should Netanyahu win, it would give him an almost unlimited power. Unlike any leader in Israel history, including Ben-Gurion. The rule of law, already under threat, will be a major casualty, with the next one to go being the Israeli liberal democracy as we knew and loved it, warts-and-all.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

%d bloggers like this: