An Israel without Bibi

We were getting used to an Israel without Bibi. A democracy can survive it would appear without its head of government appearing on television every night to tell us how wonderful he is. Perhaps dictatorial regimes need that but not Israel.

It was a relief to have a prime minister who travelled overseas without taking his wife with him at the nation’s expense. Not only did it save the exchequer money, but it also saved host nations from having to arrange a separate itinerary to keep Sara entertained.

Notice that, although the prime minister’s lavish, personal aircraft ordered by Bibi at a cost to the taxpayer of over $100m received its certificate of airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Authority last December, Naftali Bennett has yet to use it.

It was a pleasure to have a government that tried to bridge the divides in Israeli society rather than exacerbate them. Who would ever have believed that we would live to see a coalition government that included a prime minister who observes the Sabbath, a Health Minister from Meretz who is openly gay and a Muslim, who is leader of the United Arab List? A friend of mine called it Mashiachzeit (Messianic times). However, Bibi accused them of damaging the Jewish identity of the state.

Last night Bibi was out there up to his old tricks as though the government had already fallen and believing that he would soon be back in the prime minister’s residence on the corner of Balfour Street in Jerusalem. However, Bibi failed to be able to form a government following the three previous elections and there is little reason to believe that anything has changed.

Moshe Gafni of the charedi Ashkenazi party United Torah Judaism even suggested that “we must do some soul searching as to whom could form a government without elections.” Clearly Gafni was intimating that Bibi might not be the best choice. He would backtrack on his remark, but many would argue that Israel will be unable to enjoy stable government until Benjamin Netanyahu has left the political stage.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.
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