Everything starts at home

Netanyahu set just one goal for himself this past term – overcoming the Iranian nuclear threat – and even on that he missed the mark.

February 28, 2013 22:21
4 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Jewish Agency Board of Governors, Feb 18

Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)


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A large number of people have been coming and going lately from the prime minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.

Coalition 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 victory.

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 Israel.”

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 true.

The living room contains two armchairs and a couch.

If you 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.

Next month, 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.

The 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.

The 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 hate settlers.

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 hold.

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 modesty.

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 needs.

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 column.

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).

The 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 place.

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 home.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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