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Yossi Missri

He dreamed of being Churchill, compared to Chamberlain – but he is Brezhnev

It’s no secret that the figure that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, aspired to emulate is the Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, Winston Churchill. Churchill, whose name had already become synonymous with a great statesman, was the first to recognize the threat posed by Hitler and Nazi Germany to the world. Netanyahu adopted this model in the war against Iran: an uncompromising stand against the Iranian nuclear threat and the danger it poses to the world in general and Israel in particular.

After 07.10, Netanyahu was compared to the Prime Minister of Great Britain before World War II, Neville Chamberlain. Unlike Churchill, who was stubborn in his positions and refused to compromise, Chamberlain is a clear example of compromise. At first, Chamberlain chose not to respond militarily when Hitler sent the army to re-annex the Rhineland – a blatant violation of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War II. The more well-known compromise is, of course, the Munich Agreement, in which Chamberlain sacrificed Czechoslovakia to avoid World War II, which, as we know, started about a year later. Netanyahu, just like Chamberlain, chose to compromise endlessly in his policy toward Hamas. First, it was about the containment of “drip” rockets. Simultaneously with the expansion of the drip range, incendiary balloons began to burn the surrounding fields. Finally, protection fees were paid to a murderous terrorist organization that carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and the deadliest pogrom since the founding of the Zionist movement.

Despite the comparison to the two British leaders, I will offer a comparison to another leader: Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union. Brezhnev, who led the Soviet Union between 1964 and 1982, knew the golden age of the Soviet Empire and, at the same time, was also responsible for its disintegration. At the beginning of his reign, the standard of living in the Soviet Union began to rise, and its military power continued to grow. Growth froze from the middle to the end of his term, and “stagnation” began. Stagnation began showing signs in the Soviet Union – economic growth stopped, employment decreased, supermarket queues grew longer, and governmental corruption grew. Brezhnev is a clear example of extreme conservatism: the domestic policy he led consecrated “today” instead of “tomorrow.” We will do everything so that “tomorrow” looks exactly like “today” – inevitably leading to the promotion of unworthy people and corruption. Eventually, the Soviet Union collapsed inward following that internal stagnation.

Benjamin Netanyahu went through a similar process. The beginning of his second term led to economic development, stability, and growth of the State of Israel. But in recent years, especially after the 2015 elections and the opening of the criminal proceedings against him, Netanyahu has been busy with only one thing – staying in power. To realize this goal, “tomorrow” should look exactly like “today”. How do you do it? Like Brezhnev, of course, the collapse of the governmental systems, improper appointments, and the growth of governmental corruption. Add to that Netanyahu’s already conservative nature, and you get a recipe for collapse.

The internal processes that the State of Israel has gone through in recent years are the leading cause of its external weakness – a weakness that caused Hamas and the many enemies of the State of Israel to try to challenge it.

About the Author
Yossi Missri is a correspondent for Channel 13 - Foreign Desk, majoring in Law and Strategy, Diplomacy Government, Reichman University. Podcast: "Around the globe in 40 mins".
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