Please don’t get me wrong – there is nothing further from PM Netanyahu’s mind than to cause damage to the Jewish people but judging by the outcome so far, and he has held the job for a while, he certainly would qualify with flying colors to be called an enemy of the Jews.
Netanyahu’s policies during his three terms of service, with minor interludes, have largely been confrontational: Confrontations with the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas, with the United States, with Europe and to some extent with diaspora Jewry as well, in particular in the US where he just recently caused major damage to the traditionally bi-partisan support for Israel and considerable friction among Jewish organizations who were drawn into his fray with the Obama administration.
He and his government have consistently pursued unilateral policies that flew in the face of our friends and allies and made it more and more difficult for them to continue and support Israel. His refusal to continue the peace process with the Palestinians unless all our conditions have been met and his generally aggressive stance have resulted in almost uninterrupted low level violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (which is mostly underreported) and two major conflagrations vis-a-vis Gaza the second one last year. “Protective Edge” and the large amount of civilian casualties it caused in Gaza in the summer of 2014 has by itself been a key contributor to the recent rise in anti-Semitic activity in Europe.
The constant friction that Netanyahu instigates has had an impact not only on our friends and allies but on the Muslim communities in Europe as well, communities which are on edge as it is, among other reasons as a result of the fighting in different areas in the Middle East not connected with Israel. Jewish communities in Europe have come under considerable pressure from Muslim radicals and some, notably in Belgium, France and Denmark have been subjected to lethal attacks. Anti-semites, old ones and new ones as well, have been tremendously encouraged by the anti-Israel mood that is fanned by radical Muslims and left-wing movements alike and fueled, among other things, by unabated Israeli violence against Palestinians with no horizon for improvement in sight.
On this background, most Israelis are likely to say that “Israel is the only place in the world where Jews can feel safe”. They say so without batting their eyelids, even after listening to PM Netanyahu warning us for the umpteenth time that the Iranian nuclear program is an existential threat to Israel (and the Jewish people, no less) and that Hizbollah’s rockets in Lebanon and those of Hamas in Gaza are a threat to everybody’s life and property. Not to talk about ISIS. And many of the Jews that are leaving Europe understand the reality – less than a third of those who leave come to Israel. They go elsewhere because Israel is still the most dangerous place for Jews in the world – more Jews are killed here because they are Jewish than in any other country in the world. And what is worse, under Netanyahu there is no hope for anything better.
And Netanyahu in his accumulated nine years in office has been the major contributor to this state of affairs. He pounces on any terror attack against Jews abroad to encourage disapora Jews to pick up and leave, to Israel. He sounds like the great saviour but what he really does, because of his confrontational policies with the Palestinians which leave Israel without a political horizon, he exposes the Jews that come to Israel to greater dangers than they encountered in their countries of origin. And as we will see in the coming months, unless Netanyahu is replaced in the upcoming elections, the lack of political horizon will soon be reflected in a deteriorating economic situation.
Netanyahu, tragically, has become a terrible enemy to Jews in Israel and in the diaspora as well. In Israel he is making a considerable effort to create an ethnocentric nation state whose Jewish citizens are likely to live in constant discord with those minorities who refuse to cower and are still suffered here while discrimination against them, official and not, is only increasing. For diaspora Jewry, Netanyahu’s unilateral policies that completely disregard the requests by many allies and friends increase the enmity not only of the local non-Jewish populations against Jews in their countries but also that of their governments and elites. His chauvinism is a powerful turn-off for most of the diaspora Jews who cherish a more liberal kind of democracy.
Netanyahu in his misguided, insular and paranoid approach has truly become an enemy to his own people. I am surprised that the Charedi community which frequently is highly sensitive to situations where non-Jews start to gang up on the Jews hasn’t spoken up and warned of the dangers of continuing on his path. Anybody in his right mind must know that the Jewish state cannot continue like this. Anybody but Netanyahu.