The morning after

Our PM has not only helped restore Jews to geopolitical history, he has placed Israel not just in the corridors of power, but increasingly, at the table of power.

By
September 11, 2019 19:19
4 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals the Iranian nuclear bases uncovered by Israel, September 9

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals the Iranian nuclear bases uncovered by Israel, September 9 2019. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

For those whose middle-of-the-night dreams include the vanquishing of the Royal Family – the turning away of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife and son – there is probably joy and exaltation and a sense of relief on the pillow amid the snores.

Unfortunately, there is also the morning after. One needs to wake up, go about their business and confront the reality of the fulfillment of his or her dreams.

True, the implications might not seem to be immediately apparent. But coffee time passes quickly and the world is showing up in remarkably short order.

How is the new regime to confront Iran? Do we know whether they will be resolute, equivocal or just silent, based on the need to learn the situation?

How does the new leader handle Trump, Putin, Xi, Modi, el-Sisi, MbS, Erdogan, the EU and of course, Nasrallah, Abbas and the Hamas leadership?

Wow, it feels great to not to have to deal with the same old, same old! But what’s all that knocking on the door?
Our friends, our adversaries and the world are expecting Israeli leadership to seamlessly adapt to a new change of command, while maintaining its dexterity, sophistication and yes, cleverness.

Great! No more cigars, no more shots across the bow from the in-house harpies or the Nixonian paranoia about the press and all those who want to see a new day.

Fine and dandy. But the Russians/Turks/Syrians/Iranians/Hezbollah are going about their business, and what is the new team going to do about it?

You get my point. My fear is that we have become wrapped up too tightly in the soap opera of the first family to have forgotten why they have been the first family for as long as they have.

There is an analogy to be made to the remarkable career of Winston Churchill, perhaps the greatest political figure of the 20th century. Churchill defined mixed blessing. He was a man of brilliance and vision who was difficult, demanding and possessed of ideas and schemes which often were seriously misplaced.

He was disliked intensely by most of his fellow politicians, though he found a way to connect very well with common folk (though he himself was from one of England’s leading aristocratic families).

Despite the revulsion (not too strong a word) felt by many within his own party for having seemingly pushed Neville Chamberlain aside to become PM of Great Britain, Churchill goes on to be the most successful war leader in modern history, and saves England and the West, only to be turned out of office when the war ends. But only after it ends.

The real question for Israel is, are we shooting ourselves in the foot (or worse) for changing horses now? Are we too much in the thick of the battle to contemplate firing the leader who has been steering the ship of state?

Or is that ship more like a pleasure yacht, where the captain can go below, have a few drinks, and let the mates run the boat?

These are the questions I would implore my fellow Israelis to ask themselves. Let us be serious, the adults in our own room.

Now is the time to seriously contemplate what is stake, at stake for maintaining the leadership we have, or for making a change.

There might be any number of things. No, there are many things that I fault the PM for, things that I find him lacking in.

So I look around the stage. From where will my salvation come? I listen in vain for voices of vision, conviction and effectiveness to say, “I can and will be the one to steer the ship in as least as effective a way as its currently being navigated.”

We are fond of saying that we in Israel live in a tough neighborhood. I have some distressing news for you: The entire world has become a tough neighborhood.

Our PM has not only helped restore Jews to geopolitical history, he has placed Israel not just in the corridors of power, but increasingly, at the table of power.

We have a seat at the table, and if we play our hand well that seat will be become more enduring and influential.

This is a breathtaking achievement, one that renders petty the many “yes, buts” that can surely be leveled at the PM.

Ours is a society replete with tensions, problems and flaws. But let us never take for granted or ignore the fact that we are able to face those issues with an overriding sense of our own existential security.

My morning-after is replete with gratitude for this state of affairs. I, for one, am not willing to jeopardize our existential status in the world.

I too understand the concept of fatigue and a desire for change. But I also say, in this most important of realms, the realm of Israel’s continued security, there can be no leaps of faith nor wishful thinking.

My morning-after has three cups of coffee and a clear view of what we as a nation most importantly require.

The writer is the chairman of the board of Im Tirtzu and a director of the Israel Independence Fund. The opinions expressed are his alone. He can be reached at dougaltabef@gmail.com.


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