Bibi is on the way out

Despite having witnessed the tremendous response to the V15 campaign; despite having observed the thousands of volunteers knocking on doors in district after district to persuade people to actually vote for change; despite the 85,000 likes on the V15 Facebook page and 3.5 million views……until this weekend, I still wasn’t sure that Netanyahu could be removed.

But after seeing tens of thousands in Kikar Rabin on Saturday night and a packed conference centre this evening in Haifa, added to similar turnouts in venues across the country, I believe that we will have a new prime minister in a week’s time. The atmosphere in Israel is akin to that before the Rabin victory in 1992, the Blair victory in 1997 and the Barak victory in 1999.

Steve Klein, wrote an opinion column yesterday entitled “Five reasons Netanyahu can’t be replaced in these Israeli elections. Time for a reality check: Isaac Herzog will not be Israel’s next prime minister.”

Fortunately, like most Americans in Israel, he has very little idea of the world outside of his Anglo-Saxon enclave and I totally disagree with him.

I mix with Israelis of all streets, rich and poor, every day. On both the Jewish and Arab street there is a tremendous desire for change and a rising disgust with Netanyahu.

Following the little tour of his heartland, Machane Yehuda, yesterday, my old friends among the stall holders there were saying…’anyone but Bibi’, despite fawning over him to his face. When you are knocking on doors for weeks on end, speaking with people on the street, arguing with them at football matches……ever been to an Israeli football (sorry, soccer) match Steve Klein?, you hear a totally different story.

Maybe I will be proved wrong next Tuesday, in which case the country will sink even further into the depths of isolation, poverty and racism. But the streets of Shderot, Dimona, Rosh Ha’ayin, Akko, Nazareth (Upper and Lower), Sakhnin, etc. don’t agree with the denizens of Modi’in and the professors in Jerusalem.

As Yair Lapid said yesterday in this paper “Three weeks into somebody else’s prime ministership, you will not remember this sense that no one can replace Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not a very good prime minster. He did very little in the two years I was in his government. He doesn’t care, which annoys me. He likes being prime minister. I just don’t know why. Because he doesn’t do anything. So he’s more than replaceable. And yes, Israelis got used to him, but they’ll get used to somebody else very quickly, because whatever comes is going to be better.”


About the Author
Baruch Velleman is a management accountant, social worker, educator, Masorti Jew, peace activist, and works for the Forum of Israeli Peace NGOs