How to Explain Liberman’s Rise? Rosner’s Take

So Bibi demonized Arab Israelis, Blue and White demonized Haredim, and Liberman has demonized both. The big winner? Liberman.

This is just part of Shmuel Rosner’s astute analysis in his recent op-ed in the New York Times.

But this is Rosner’s takeaway: Liberman’s ascendance has demonstrated that mainstream society rejects both Israeli Arabs and Haredim. That is, the mainstream refuses to let minorities govern its future. The mainstream is telling its Arabs and Haredim that influence will only come with acceptance of certain norms, presumably that they should join mainstream society in some way; Rosner wasn’t clear on this point.

But Rosner is overreaching. As disgusting as the vilification of minorities has been, that was just a tactic dating back to Ben Gurion himself, as Rosner points out.

But really it is far simpler. It’s about fatigue. This election — as virtually every election for the past 25 years — has been about Bibi Netanyahu. For whatever reason, more and more people have grown sick of Bibi. Maybe they never liked him, maybe they are turned off by his alleged tampering with democracy, or maybe they just want a change.

Blue and White, an amalgam of three parties (or more), has little novel or coherent to say about governance or public policy. But it is an alternative. In fact there would seem to be little difference between Blue and White and the desiccated Labor party; here too, it would seem that people have grown weary of the same old same old.

In his years in office Liberman has done little, and there is little reason to expect this to change. What Liberman represents is Something New, Something Different.

So essentially we have the same Right-Left split. And as happens every decade or so a New Party emerges, one which projects power and innovation, with some vituperation of society’s least popular. But these parties tend to fade, leaving Israel split between Left and Right. As it has been for almost 50 years.

About the Author
Long-time Jerusalemite tired of influential foreign voices beating down on Israel. Come on you guys -- you know better!
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