From Bibi to Bernie

Not a day goes by when our newspapers, radio and television broadcasts and café conversations are not centered around the political tragedy in the life of Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu.

In the United States, people who are tired of Trump are discussing possibilities of change. One of the several prospective candidates from the Democratic party is a Jew named Bernard (Bernie) Sanders.

He is a 77 year old junior Senator from the northern state of Vermont on the U.S.-Canada border and has been in the Senate since 2007.

He describes himself as a democratic socialist, a progressive, a fearless friend of the poor, homeless and hungry.  Is America ready for its first socialist president?   I don’t believe it is or ever will be.

In 1963 Bernie and his first wife volunteered for several months in Israel working in kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, a Labor Zionist affiliation with HaShomer HaTza-ir….very socialist close to communism.

Bernie Sanders, although a Jew, is not religiously associated with Judaism. His wife is Roman Catholic, he does not attend synagogue services, he works on Rosh Hashanah and considers himself only as an ethnic and cultural Jew. On occasion, he attends the Passover seder at the home of a friend in Vermont.  He does not pray and it is questionable if he even believes in God.

His position on Israel is luke-warm. He criticized Israel for its military actions in the 2014 Gaza war.

In the 1916 presidential campaign he was one of the Democratic party hopefuls but he could not—nobody could—beat the silver-tongued Donald Trump.

If Trump runs for re-election, as is reported that of course he will, I think that Bernie Sanders is wasting his time.

In my opinion, it would be a tragic mistake for the Americans to elect a Jewish president. Everything that will go wrong, every threat, every attack, every foreign policy and immigration issues, will be blamed on the “Jew president”.

Anti-semitism which is sadly on the rise in the fifty American states would increase by leaps and bounds.

Bibi’s problems would be small in comparison to what Bernie Sanders may endure.

In Israel, the Labor party will not support Bibi.   In America, the Labor party will support Bernie.

Maybe Bernie should consider making aliyah and becoming an Israeli citizen. He would join the Labor party, maybe even become its leader eventually, and when he is in his late 80’s or early 90’s he might run for Israel’s Knesset as Prime Minister. Who knows? Stranger things have happened in the land of miracles.

And what then about Bibi?  Very simple. He could return to the America that he loves and be appointed to the faculty of M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) his alma mater, or even at Harvard. Both are located in the Cambridge that he knew so well.

He would be appointed professor of Middle East history and his success would be overwhelming. Sara would not have to bother ordering catered meals. She could join Bibi for lunch every day in the faculty dining room.

Do Bibi and Bernie have anything in common? One is a virtuous socialist and one is a corrupt leader.

Both are Jews, one practicing and one criticizing. One is a fervent Zionist and one is a devoted Socialist. One is married to a Jewish woman and one is married to a non-Jewish woman.

One labored and sweated on a kibbutz in Israel and one enjoyed the café society in the diaspora.

To make a long story short, both have one thing in common.

Israel does not need Bibi and America does not need Bernie.

As we say in Hebrew: “sof pasuk”. The end.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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