Oh, I get it. It’s our fault. We’re to blame for everything: Israel’s poor relations with the U.S.; Israel’s ostracism in the world; the escalating violence in the West Bank; the slowdown in the economy – all because we didn’t do a good job in the previous elections. When we practiced our democratic right to vote for someone other than King Bibi we were being bad citizens.
What a disgrace. Instead of explaining to the Israeli public why we are being dragged into a $2 billion election campaign, and why the entire system is to be put on hold until a new king is crowned, Netanyahu gave one of the most embarrassing shows he has ever put on, blaming everyone but himself for all that is wrong in the world – Iran, Hamas, Daesh, unemployment, weak government, stalled peace talks, you name it.
Lapid and Livni were planning a putsch and constantly did everything they could to undermine the government from day one. That was the crux of Netanyahu’s first campaign speech last night. Seriously? The case he made was so weak, it was almost funny. He quoted Lapid claiming that Israel walking out during Rowhani’s speech in the U.N. was a mistake, and mentioned Livni’s criticism of construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank. He seemed to have forgotten Lieberman standing on the podium in the U.N. stating that the two-state solution is not relevant anymore, or Bennett’s fierce criticism against Israel’s weak response during the last war in Gaza. I’m not going to even mention Netanyahu’s own political connivance against the late Prime Minister Sharon, much worse in scale and nature than anything Lapid and Livni have done.
It was a sad performance of an isolated and pressured politician. It reminded me of the good old Netanyahu – the quick-to-draw, impulsive, sweaty Netanyahu. The Netanyahu who actually believes words and not action can change reality. Does he really believe that Lapid – who is not exactly loved by the ultra-orthodox, tried to take him down by cutting a deal with Deri and Gafni (leaders of the ultra-orthodox parties)? Why, it was Netanyahu himself who met with them just a few days ago to discuss a possible political alliance. This paranoid version of Netanyahu is so worrying that one has to question the wisdom of having him lead the country until the elections!
Netanyahu was right in two ways. Firstly, the government he led was forced upon him because of the election results. Secondly, Israel deserves a better government. It is this simple truth that should guide us in the coming months. We are presented with a unique opportunity to rid ourselves of a leader who has had ten whole years to actually make ground breaking bold decisions and change the reality on the ground. He missed his chance. Time for us to change reality.
The good news is that we’re going to be changing a pair of old socks. The bad news is that we might be changing them with another pair of old socks. It was Churchill who once said: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Israelis will be facing a simple choice. Another government led by Netanyahu, which will most likely include all the usual suspects – Bennett, Lieberman, Feiglin, Regev, Elkin and probably also the ultra-religious parties, or a center-left government with Herzog, Lapid, Livni, Galon, and perhaps the Arab parties. Guys – let’s not get it wrong this time.