A large number of people have been coming and going lately from the prime
minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.
negotiations are taking place. Here is what they see in this house that is
maintained by the state so that the prime minister of Israel will have optimal
working and living conditions: In the entrance, on the first white wall that
visitors see, hangs a cheerful poster prepared by the residence’s employees,
congratulating the prime minister and Mrs. Netanyahu on their great election
It says, “May the prime minister continue to strengthen the
nation and the state, and to speedily form a new government for the glory of
The election was held more than five weeks ago. A lot of things
took place then, but the “great election victory of the prime minister and
Mrs. Netanyahu” was not one of them – perhaps even the opposite is
The living room contains two armchairs and a couch.
try to sit down on one of these chairs, someone immediately screams at you, “No
no! It’s forbidden!” This is the chair that belonged to the late father (of the
first lady). He sat on this chair before his soul was called back to the
Creator, and now it is to be preserved until the end of time.
a very respected guest will visit this house. The president of the United States
of America, Barack Hussein Obama.
Now, imagine what would happen if he
tried to sit down on that chair. The little that is left of the relationship
between these two leaders would go up in smoke.
Luckily, the Americans
are extremely thorough.
Before the president arrives, they plan
everything – whom he’ll meet, whose hand he’ll shake, how many breaths he’ll
take between each handshake.
I am hoping and praying that the armchair
issue has been addressed and dealt with.
There are two approaches to
these ludicrous coalition negotiations.
The first one is espoused by
those who view the Bennett- Lapid pact as the harbinger of the new age of
politics, as a fresh, new power that could make a real change.
second, opposing approach, believes that the Bennett-Lapid pact could bring
about the destruction of Israel, empower the settlements, seriously damage the
chances of reaching a two-state solution, and lead us to a dead end.
majority of Israelis are sane centrists who view this as a struggle between
those who believe the haredi community is a tangible threat to Israeli
democracy, and those who view settlers in the same exact way. In other words,
this is a competition between those who hate the haredi community and those who
The latter group views the haredi community as a necessary
evil that the country has learned to live with.
They prefer to keep them
in the coalition, to throw some money their way so that they’ll allow the prime
minister to take care of political negotiations, dismantle settlements, and sign
a permanent agreement.
They prefer putting citizens’ needs on
On the other hand, the former group is fed up with the haredi
community. For an entire generation we’ve been throwing money their way so that
we can move ahead with negotiations. Have we gained anything this way? We
haven’t achieved peace, and in the meantime, the haredi community is growing and
taking over Israel’s public sector.
They are “reproducing and
multiplying,” and don’t have even one ounce of Zionist feeling or
One day, we won’t be able to pay the bill. This is the civil
approach (according to Lapid and Bennett) that ignores the country’s political
Which approach is correct? I don’t know. It’s a sad situation in
which everyone is right. Personally, I believe that there is another danger,
greater than both of these.
I touched upon it at the beginning of this
This danger is a crisis of leadership. Or in other words,
Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. When a true, determined leader chooses a
path (let’s say, to change the system of government, or to draft haredi men, or
to reach a permanent agreement with the Palestinians, or to give back territory)
he will strive for and reach his goals.
Take Ariel Sharon for example
(though it’s a shame that the path he chose ended disastrously).
problem is, Netanyahu doesn’t want something to happen. He set just one goal for
himself this past term – overcoming the Iranian nuclear threat – and even on
that he missed the mark. (If he doesn’t realize this yet, then Obama will spell
it out for him next month.) Therefore, as long as he is in power, nothing good
can happen, since it’s Netanyahu who created the Bennett-Lapid pact in the first
The drive that made him ostracize Bennett in the first place, to
thwart his candidacy, and then when that didn’t work, to try to delegitimize
him, is also connected to the introduction above.
Everything starts at
Translated by Hannah Hochner.