Jonathan Russo

A She’elah to King Bibi

With Netanyahu’s recent Biblically-styled proclamation that he speaks for all the world’s Jews, I have officially become one of his constituents. Bibi has made himself “King of the Jews,” therefore I am one of his subjects. Yet since I am living in the diaspora and thus not entitled to vote in the upcoming Israeli election, I—like King Bibi—have chosen the Biblical route and am hereby writing a petition, an ask, a request (in Hebrew, she’elah) to the king himself.

Dear Exalted One who sits on a throne in the Knesset and rules over his people, wherever they may be:

I beseech you to do something about your critics. They are swarming like locusts across the print and digital land, chewing your policies into dust. I just came back from three weeks in your land, and my head is swimming. I have never read so much disrespectful writing and heard so much disrespectful talking about one so exalted. The leftist Haaretz throws a half dozen bricks at you daily. Over half the stories about you in the traditionally supportive Jerusalem Post mock you and your policies. There are the totally disrespectful V15 posters about the bottle return issue and Queen Sarah’s home decorating and shopping. Even the rabbis of the religious opposition call you names and question your judgment. Worse, rabbis who are in their graves are used against you! You are treated with the disrespect only a Haman-type figure should receive!

Oh, Exalted One, I worry for you. I worry what would happen to all your fervent AIPAC supporters if they read even one of the hundreds of articles by former Israeli military generals and commanders who strongly disagree with your assessment of and approach to the Iranian threat. They wonder why you threaten and embarrass your friends and straighten the hands of your enemies. For your sake, please do what you can to block the Israeli press from reaching past the shores of Zion proper. It is beyond demoralizing to read and listen to the Israeli press, disrespectful as it is to Your Majesty.

Secondly, I have noticed a bad trend in your land that perhaps you could reflect on and grant me your wisdom. I am a student of economics, and there is a phenomenon called a “vicious cycle.” As you know, this is when the economy slows down and people spend less, slowing the economy even more. This goes on and on, causing great pain to everyone until something changes. What will change in your kingdom to rectify this monumental problem?

You have been our great ruler now for many a year and in that time anti-Semitism and a general newfound dislike of your people has become the norm…everywhere. We are confronted with a BDS movement in the universities of America and Europe and even sub-Saharan Africa. Your people are experiencing unprecedented attacks, both physical and emotional, all over the globe. Violence in once peaceful lands occurs weekly. Even the last bastion of tolerance, the United States, is reevaluating its support for the ongoing occupation of the West Bank at the highest levels of its ruling councils.

Yet in spite of this unfavorable situation, you double down, even more loudly promoting your ideas and policies to the nations of the world—the very same world that, frankly, does not seem to agree with you. Then you shout even louder that the world is against the Jews, that they have no safety anywhere but in Israel. If you have a chance, a moment to reflect, do you think you could perhaps come up with an answer for this? Perhaps if you could change your policies and attitude and manner of delivery we would not find ourselves in such a mess? We used to have European friends: remember when we invaded Egypt in 1956 with the British and the French? Now they barely talk to us. We once trained jet pilots from Turkey; now it is not even safe to vacation there. In the exalted United Nations, the very place that gave our nation its birth—where Abba Eban once commanded respect—we are reduced to having Vanuatu as a key ally.

Oh, One on High, can you not see that your people are hurting? They cannot afford to rent or buy a modest dwelling in their own land. The cost of everything is unreasonable and those who rule use their monopoly on power to deter anyone who would lower the cost of living. Your people’s shekels do not go far.

Meanwhile, a new class of very clever people in your land lives like they are in Beverly Hills. No luxury is too luxurious, no object too costly for them. All this while the others go hungry. This cannot be good for the Jews. Can you please look into this? Can you ask your wise councilors why as many as 1 million of your Israeli subjects, some 13% of all Israelis, dwell in foreign lands?

Please, oh King Bibi, take my she’elah to heart and perhaps withdraw from this temporal election race and redirect your energies to loftier matters. Please think about making room for a new, fresh wind of change to blow across the land.

About the Author
Jonathan Russo has been observing Israel and its policies since he first visited in 1966. He is a businessman in New York City.