Israel In Crisis
Menachem Begin made peace with Egypt, Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan. The normalization of the relationship between Israel and the Emirates should have put Binyamin Netanyahu in the same league as his distinguished predecessors. Though, unlike the Emirates, Egypt and Jordan had been at war with Israel and peace with them has remained a cold peace, normalization with the Emirates carries great promise of normalization with its neighbors and a relationship that will benefit both countries. It is also likely to shield us from Iran.
But Netanyahu is not being judged by today’s Israeli public with the enthusiasm and respect of his predecessors. The large demonstrations outside his official residence in Jerusalem (some 20 000 last Saturday night) as well as near his home in Caesarea and many other places in Israel demand his resignation. Though some of his fans come out in his support, the opposition seems to be very much stronger.
One reason why many Israelis want to get rid of Netanyahu, despite his diplomatic achievements epitomized by his apparent close relationship with the president of the United States is ostensibly his pending trial. It has prompted some demonstrators to call hm crime minister. But the dissatisfaction seems to go much deeper as documented for example by people who worked with him: former aides (e.g., Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett), some cabinet colleagues, a former police chief and most recently a senior member of the ministry of finance whose letter of resignation has shocked us all.
Yet Netanyahu is clinging to his office, not only because he may be addicted to power but also because he reckons that staying as prime minister may shield him from going to jail, perhaps even being tried.
The situation is further complicated by the seeming hostility between the coalition partners Likud and Blue and White, epitomized by the relationship between Netanyahu and Gantz, the leader of Blue and White. The main thing that seems to keep them together is the fear of calling yet another election and perhaps be punished by the voters for doing so. Yet another election seems almost inevitable, probably early next year – and with the same inconclusive results.
Israel is currently facing many problems, e.g., the unrest on Israel’s borders largely inspired by Iran; the Corona pandemics which is hitting Israel very badly; the resulting economic crisis. At a time when the country needs strong leadership and a united people behind it, it has the opposite.
I do not like to finish on a negative note but find it impossible to see much hope unless the country gets a different prime minister and a more viable government. My problem is that I do not know how this could come about or who would succeed Netanayhu12.
Jerusalem 31.8.20 Dow Marmur