Bribes Do Not Compensate for Failed Leadership
Not many weeks ago members of the faithful Likud entourage of Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened to hold elections. The party was up in the polls and its leader was popular because of the way he handled the first round of the Corona crisis. And his partner/rival Benny Gatz was doing badly.
Things have changed rapidly. Recent demonstrations outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem and in other places are primarily against Netanyahu and his leadership, including the way he and his government have (not) dealt with the second wave of the pandemic. We no longer hear much about new elections. According to the polls, Likud would lose many mandates had Israelis voted today.
That does not mean that Gantz’s Blue and White would do well. Even those of us who had great hopes that he would be able to moderate Netanyahu’s thirst for power by sharing it with him have been disappointed.
One of the most vociferous members of Netanyahu’s fan club and a member of his cabinet, Amir Ohana, suggested recently that the current wave of demonstrations against the prime minister is reminiscent of the demonstrations against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after he signed the Oslo accords. It resulted in Rabin’s assassination. Ohana did not remind us that one of the leaders of the anti-Rabin campaign was none other than Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not guilty of the outcome, but he may be sensitive to unexpected consequences.
The same Netanyahu, now prime minister, not being able to convince enough Israelis to support him has decided to bribe us all by each citizen being given money, whether we need it or not, at the cost for the state of billions of shekels. His leadership has failed. Will bribes work? I am told that they did in Poland before elections there.
Netanyahu is, of course, not the only current leader of a country perceived as having failed his people. His role model and friend(?) Donald Trump is the most gruesome example. We are told that countries that have women leaders have dealt much better with the crisis. Any suggestions for Israel? I can only think of Tzipi Livni but hope that you have better suggestions.
Jerusalem 17.7.20 Dow Marmur