Benjamin Netanyahu may indeed have been played by Republicans in their quest to make Obama look bad…something that all too often, Obama himself excels at. But what Bibi did was right for the State of Israel, even if it was wrong for American Jews.
More and more, we are coming to a crossroad that cannot be ignored, cannot be argued away. For most of Israel’s 66 years, American Jews stood behind Israel, as did America. That reality has changed under the Obama administration and we can no longer assume such support will continue in the future.
As their own reports show, American Jewry is indeed falling apart and unlike European Jewry, which is primarily facing a physical threat, American Jews are oblivious to the very real “spiritual” threat. And no, I am not bemoaning the lack of observance as a focal point, the Christmas trees which seem to be accepted, the ham at the seder (if there is a seder), etc.
I have received emails instructing me that my hopes to have Jonathan Pollard freed is either “embarrassing” or “dangerous” for American Jewry (to which I respond…then you are living in the wrong country). I have been told that European Jews simply can’t make aliyah, and anyway, is it really so much better in Israel? Um…yes, it is.
What Israelis have to do at this important moment in our country’s existence, is focus not on the world, but on ourselves. What would be great for American Jewry would be to elect the Herzog/Livni team – few Israeli leaders have excelled at groveling with such passion as these two.
The Palestinians are poised to push their victim-hood to yet greater levels while a besieged Europe is desperate to pacify their ever-growing Muslim population. Though Likud would not be my first choice in the upcoming elections, it could well be the only choice. Giving the left control – and make no mistake a vote for Herzog/Livni is most definitely a vote for the left – would be endangering Israel’s future as surely as placing control in the hands of the Arab party…which, given that the self-proclaimed “Zionist” party would likely have to join with the Arabs to make and sustain a coalition, is what you’d be doing.
The reason that Netanyahu is the only viable choice is because, unlike his opposition, he, at least, has a realistic image of the threats facing Israel both internally and from abroad. He’s “walked the walk” and “talked the talk” with the United States but recognizes Obama for what he is.
Contrary to the attempts of many to put words in the mouths of the right, Netanyahu is not saying we are about to be destroyed and the sky is falling and everyone hates us – that is leftist drivel attempting to manipulate the election by frightening the country into moving further left. What Netanyahu says is that there is a growing Islamic fundamentalist movement and Israel has to be prepared – to go it alone if necessary, to try to convince others, if possible.
We cannot ignore Iran. It’s there and growing and playing the West and Obama for fools (and sadly, with Obama as president, they aren’t that far off).
What Herzog and Livni say is – let’s throw ourselves behind Europe and the US, align ourselves with them and then we’ll be really strong against this threat. See, they don’t deny the threat. The problem is that the West has consistently failed to identify exactly what they are facing. And we’ve learned often enough you’d think even the blind would see that the minute things get hot, the first thing the US and Europe will abandon is Israel. The days when we could count on the US, at least for the next two years, are gone. It will be a miracle if the US will continue to use their veto in the UN, never mind do anything more.
All this is on the international level – but what about the internal issues. Here too, Netanyahu and the coalition he will build are the only viable option. As much as I would love to offer homes to young couples with zero VAT (hey, I’d like every first home-owner, and second and third), to get this too, it isn’t reasonable or possible. Not for Israel, not even for my three children who are married and hoping to buy apartments at some point in the future.
The fact is, that while leftists dismiss the last 6 years of Netanyahu in office as being filled “only” with his complaining about Iran, what they ignore is what has been happening outside of Israel economically. Country after country has been falling, failing. Greece is just one example; there are many others. The economic situation in the US is borderline catastrophic. Housing prices have fallen – wiping out the savings and equity of tens of thousands of people. Medical care is a real issue for many.
What Netanyahu has successfully done in the last 6 years, with the help of brilliant advisers and the ingrained Israeli need to innovate, is guide Israel through this international economic crisis to an unbelievable and positive level. If we can say that we are not financially worse off now than we were 6 years ago, we are relatively unique in the world.
No Israeli leader is perfect but when you go into battle, you choose the best commander you can and then you do your best to live up to the requirements he places upon you. You trust because when it is life or death, the lack of trust alone can easily settle the matter disastrously.
You can argue with your commanding officer – until the battle begins; you can review and question and think through this election all you want but this election, more than many, will decide Israel’s future – not just for the next 2-3 years, but perhaps for much longer.
A weak and ineffective government will ensure, at best, yet another round of elections in two years – that’s probably the best we can hope for from Livni and Herzog who have spent more time seeking power than holding it; more time abusing it rather than explaining what they would do differently.
We need a leader who can face the challenges inside the country. We need more housing and we need it to be affordable. Yair Lapid’s reign of incompetence clearly shows what happens when you allow an unqualified candidate to manage the economy.
And we need a leader who can stand before the world and proudly say that the world as we know it has changed simply and perhaps only because we have. For the first time in 100 generations, Netanyahu correctly pointed out, we can and will defend ourselves.
It is time for the ghetto Jew to retire – and that would be Livni and Herzog. For two thousand years, that ghetto Jew ruled and the results can be counted in the cemeteries and crematoria of Europe and beyond. The piles of ashes in Maidanek, the mass graves in Babi Yar – all this was brought to us as much by our enemies hatred as by our inability to protect ourselves. Things may not be great in Israel on a financial level, but they are a heck of a lot better here than in most places.
No one thinks Bibi is perfect…probably not even Sara. But what he is resonates well and can see us through the coming years. Whatever party you vote for – consider whether that party in coalition with Likud or Likud itself, will make this country better in the next four years than it is today.
Without question, the road that the self-proclaimed Zionist party will take is one fraught with danger and incompetence. They have and will sell their souls and our birthright for the power they crave, leaving us weakened and just as alone as they proclaim us to be today.
So…yeah…grit your teeth and think about Israel…and that means voting the right way. If you don’t vote right, we will be left with nothing.