I can’t fault Bibi as a politician, in fact I would argue that the man is the consummate politician. When it looked like Yair Lapid was going to hit him hard from the Left he pulled the rug out from under him by bringing Kadima into the government. Once Lapid was banished into the netherworld he dispensed with the challenge from Kadima and then they, in turn were thrown back into their post Sharon haze of irrelevance leaving him to reign supreme. Don’t forget that Bibi was even able to manipulate the Labour party into propping up what must be the most Right leaning government Israel has ever seen. In short the man is a political DEMON able to win trust from and dispense with enemies at will.
It’s not just about dealing with political enemies but also with his friends. In terms of Right wing ideology, hardcore Likudniks have reason to be angry. The West Bank has not been and will not be annexed to Israel under Bibi, Migron was ripped up, the recommendations of the Levy Committee, which were applauded by various settlement groups seem not to have noticed that their report has been quietly shelved now that the bone has been thrown, Bibi’s Right wing is secure.
Over the course of this government we have had the largest protests the country has ever seen, we have had violence on the streets of Tel Aviv coming from the Left and violence in the West Bank coming from the Right and violence against immigrants in South Tel Aviv as well as violence against the IDF from Jewish extremists. The fault lines separating Israelis from one another are growing even deeper.
The list goes on, the Tal Law has been dropped and nothing has replaced it. I would love to know how many previously exempt members of the Ultra Orthodox community were called up for army service in the August draft but those stats seem pretty hard to come by. I suspect that the numbers are not up on last year when the Tal Law was in effect, why would they be? The only thing that’s changed is the law.
There is no peace process with the Palestinians whose bid for statehood a year ago failed and who now are trying again with the UN, this time for UN Non Member Observer status. It doesn’t really matter whether they get it or not, no one cares, no one is looking at them and Bibi hasn’t mentioned them. He has mentioned the Iranians, wow has he mentioned the Iranians!! Over and over again we have been told about the nukes that the Iranians don’t have. Over and over again the highest serving military and intelligence officials have made Bibi’s words on Iran nonsensical by contradicting him at every turn. Israel can’t stop the Iranian nuclear programme, conventional wisdom states that the Americans can. And now it all comes into focus.
Bibi has been incredibly effective when it comes to domestic politics, he has positioned himself as the only politician that the Israeli public sees at the helm of our little ship. Though surely at some point he is going to have to deal with the issues that are affecting our society, at some point he is going to have to roll up his shirt sleeves and get involved in fixing the plumbing of our economy and the divisions that he has so far managed only to exacerbate and the President of the United States has no need to listen to the man who has made himself a thorn in his side rather than an indispensable ally. If the Americans are the only ones able to deal with Iran I fail to see how making himself persona non grata with the White House is supposed to help our case.
Or perhaps for Bibi it really is all politics and so long as he can get by using Machiavellian tricks and speeches about Iran he will. Perhaps all that’s important to him is that he is Prime Minister and since neither those who voted for him, nor those who voted against him have gotten what they wanted from him it really is time to start taking other candidates a lot more seriously.