Regardless of who “wins” on Tuesday, I will not be celebrating. Bibi deserves to go home but there is nobody to take his place. I cannot vote for him and I cannot vote for Herzog-Livni. So I will be indirectly giving my vote to one of them, depending on which of the small parties also running eventually finds its way into the little white envelope that I will sadly slip into the blue ballot box. In spite of having been temporarily encouraged by the level of discussion on the TV debate a short time ago, I cannot shake my disappointment that we are once more having an election.
We should not be going to the ballots this year. There was no good reason to call for early elections; Bibi decided to gamble for what he felt would be, for him, a more favourable political line-up. Had he been even a slightly ethical leader, he would have used all his political finesse to continue with the cards he was already dealt and not so cynically try to reshuffle the deck. He put an entire government on hold, cost us so much of our hard-earned money for the superfluous and superficial electioneering we have witnessed over the past few months, and further battered our worn spirits.
Bibi never became the statesman Arik Sharon had become before he was taken away from us too soon. While the lessons Sharon learned led him to potential greatness, the lessons Bibi should have learned never penetrated his own inflated view of himself. His oratory skills remained just that – oratory. He never learned to lead. True, he has been strong and has shown he can withstand the pressures of others who think they can tell us what our country needs to do. But that is not all that is required of an effective Prime Minister.
Bibi had a team that wanted to work. Had he known how to manage the team, so much could have been accomplished. But Bibi is neither a team player nor a team leader – he needs to be king. And it is the arrogance that we have seen grow over the years that is his own undoing. I know, Lapid was blown away by his windfall and needed to be knocked down a notch or two – and he did seem to learn that lesson quickly. Bennett, not the racist many make him out to be, could have been better used to deal with economic and cost-of-living issues together with Lapid, had Bibi not seen these two as competitors but, rather, as team members.
Bibi should have realized that this should have been his last term as Prime Minister – every good leader needs to know when it is time to step aside. Had he understood that, he may have been able to use all the skills he had acquired over the years to pull the government together for a full 4 years and squeeze every bit of good out of the members of his governing team, at the same time preparing others for taking on the leadership after him and thus strengthening the Likud as a whole. Instead, he has let us down, crashing us into the rocks, with no clear alternative, nobody who can guide the country out of the unsafe waters.
I am not sure I trust Herzog-Livni to be able to manage the complexities of Israel today. So, while Bibi must go home, if he does I will not rejoice. If he somehow manages to get re-elected, I will not rejoice. Regardless of the results of the election, we are all losers. And it did not have to be this way. I mourn the missed opportunity to have had a stable working government for a full 4 years.
Bibi, you have brought us to the abyss for one last time. It is a tragic mistake that the entire country will pay for. Whether you go out with a bang or a whimper, whether you go out this week or in another few years, you go out having done the country you love a huge dis-service.