Michael Boyden

Another missed opportunity

Anyone who might have hoped to come away from Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance on national television on Monday evening with the feeling that here was a leader, who wanted to do his level best to heal wounds and unite our country will have been sorely disappointed.

Bibi did not address the nation as its prime minister but as the leader of the Likud.

He could have commenced his address with a placatory statement aimed at drawing people together. However, Bibi has earned a well-deserved reputation as a divider and a polarizer.

It, therefore, came as no surprise that his opening remarks referred to the Judgement of Solomon recounted in I Kings 3. Two women approached the king with two babies – one alive and one dead. Both claimed that the living child was their own. The king suggested cutting the baby in half. The real mother was prepared to give up her child in order to save his life.

Bibi used that Biblical story to suggest that the Opposition was the mother prepared to have the baby cut in half, while the government coalition was prepared to give up the child.

Put more simply, the Opposition was prepared to sacrifice the nation, while the Government was willing to forego its right to undertake a widely criticized judicial reform in order to save our country.

It doesn’t really matter at this point who is right. What was so disappointing was that Bibi, who knows how divided the country is, chose to use this opportunity to try to score points at the expense of those who disagree with him rather than to unite the nation.

This is not the time for election campaigning but for an attempt at reconciliation. Unfortunately, we have a prime minister who doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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