Eric S. Sherby

A modest (slightly to the right) proposal

Four times I have voted for Binyamin Netanyahu for prime minister.

But in the eyes of many Israelis to the right of center, Netanyahu has been a disappointment. Many people to the right, in particular young people (including in my family) criticize Netanyahu for being soft on terrorism, too open to compromise with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and too timid in relations with Washington.

Say what you will (positive or negative) about Netanyahu, one thing’s for sure – he has failed to “groom” a successor. In failing to do so, Netanyahu joins a long list of Israeli prime ministers guilty of having ignored that need.

Many in the Nationalist Camp lament the fact that there do not appear to be any upcoming leaders to the right who are intelligent, articulate, and charismatic. Many voters on the right look around with great trepidation that there is no leader who could stand up to the Arab world, the Iranian threat and Washingtonians for whom Israel’s security is not a priority.

And this problem for the Nationalist Camp does not appear to be confined to today’s issues. Nobody on the right expected Menachem Begin to give up the Sinai. Nobody on the right expected Ariel Sharon to leave Gush Katif.

But these changes happened. They happened with leaders whom the Nationalist Camp knew and trusted for years – leaders who rose through the ranks within rightist organizations or rightist political parties.

I submit that the problem is systematic – there is an inherent problem with how the Right selects its leaders. The selection process must be changed to ensure that only a leader truly committed to Greater Israel could be selected by Likud (or those parties allied with the Likud).

But have no fear. I have the answer.

The Israeli Nationalist Camp knows that the greatest friends of Greater Israel are not in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or even Brooklyn.

The greatest friends of the Israeli Right are in the evangelical community in the US.

And no pro-Israel evangelical is more outspoken and articulate than that Electronic Prophet, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

That’s right, I propose that Mike Huckabee become Israel’s next Prime Minister.

Yes, I know – this is a Jewish country, and Huckabee is not an MOT (member of the tribe). But he would not be running for Cohen Gadol (High Priest) or Chief Rabbi. Huckabee would be needed to galvanize those who believe in Greater Israel and oppose territorial concessions.

Are you worried whether the Israeli Prime Minister can be tough enough with Washington? Huckabee has made a career of being tough with Washington. When the Chair of the Labor Party yells and screams “our Prime Minister is isolating our friend in the White House,” PM Huckabee will have an easy time responding. He’ll state the obvious: “I have been criticizing Obama since Day One, and my ratings have not suffered a bit.”

And I am sure that Prime Minister Huckabee would be much better than Netanyahu at forcing all collation members to “toe the line” with respect to “Palestinian Nationalism.” Why, with PM Huckabee, the only time an Israeli governmental official would even consider uttering the word “occupied” is when referring to the sign outside a lavatory aboard an El Al flight. (Don’t blame me for the fact that Israeli officials love to travel — I’m just being realistic.)

Speaking of Washington, I’m sure that all those concerned with the ballooning federal budget deficit would be very happy to host Prime Minister Huckabee. It costs a fortune to maintain the Kosher kitchen at the White House. With PM Huckabee, that kitchen could be closed, both Mike and Barack could munch on what they really want and the DC bean-counters would rejoice in the savings – a true win-win-win in international relations.

But back here at home – it is not only the parties to the Israeli right who should welcome my proposal. 

Are you one of the many who are concerned that, like so many other Israeli Prime Ministers, the next one might be forced to bring the Haredim into a coalition? Not a worry with Huckabee – he and the Haredim don’t speak any common language, so he’s unlikely to bring them in.

And there are many traditional Mafdalnikim who worry less about territorial concessions but want to ensure that nothing about Jewish tradition gets compromised. If you are one of them, perhaps you remember the disclosure, from a few years ago, that the Chief Rabbinate had repeatedly committed the big goof of selling all of the country’s hamets (leavened bread and the like) to someone they thought was not Jewish but really was Jewish. That won’t be a problem with PM Huckabee. I’ve done my homework. His maternal grandmother and her maternal grandmother – all non-Jewish. Mike is Gentile Lamehadrin.  I’m sure he would be willing to buy all of our hamets, and I would trust him to sell it back right after Passover (even without a written agreement in Aramaic). 

I know that there are those readers who are thinking: What about Yom Haatsmaut? What would a non-Jewish Prime Minister do on Yom Haatsmaut

That would be the least of our problems with Prime Minister Huckabee.  One of the PM’s main functions on Yom Haatsmaut is to attend the International Bible Contest. Can you imagine an event at which Huckabee would feel more at home? True, we might have to whisper in his ear not to ask any questions of the contestants regarding the NT (I doubt they teach that nowadays at the Yeshivah of Flatbush), but I am sure that Mike would oblige.

And I would go a step further. Why bother having party primaries? They too cost a fortune. Simply have the chairman of the Likud party fly to the annual convention of Christians for Israel, and whomever they elect as President will (in 4 years) be the next Likud candidate for PM.  

About the Author
Eric S. Sherby is an American-Israeli lawyer, specializing in international litigation and arbitration, at the firm of Sherby & Co., Advs., which he founded in 2004. For ten years, he was the Chair of the International Litigation Department of Yigal Arnon & Co. He serves as a Vice Chair of the ABA's International Litigation Committee.