Leon Kushner
Am Yisroel Chai!

Is Bennett the Right Wing Leader We Thought?

During former PM Netanyahu’s long leadership role I and others both praised him and denounced him. This by the way is normal. When someone does good you should praise him. When he does bad you should point it out in order that they change course. When they do terrible things, they should be replaced.

I consider Bibi a hero. In his earlier years he risked his life for the people of Israel. He took a bullet while serving in the IDF, he lost his brother during the incredible Entebbe raid and yet he managed to get a degree in engineering in a prestigious American university. He was arguably one of the best communicators as far as world leaders go. I can’t recall a better and more articulate speaker myself in any area (world leaders and beyond). He was wise beyond his years. He managed to make Israel a world power (small P, that is) and put Israel on the right economic map while poor Israel was under constant existential attacks.

But in his later years, Israelis had had enough. I get it. Some hated him. Much like some in the US, they just couldn’t stand the sight of President Trump. Despite his fantastic policies, they wanted him gone. So Israelis, like so many of us, wanted a change. Was Bibi perfect? Of course not. Who is? Was he arrogant?  Name me a world leader who isn’t. I don’t think it’s healthy for a democracy to have the same person lead the country for too many years at a time. So the Israelis made a choice to oust him. Perhaps Israel should follow the US’s rule of term limits. But a much higher priority should be to change/fix Israel’s insane and over-complicated electoral system. Instead of its current multi-party deal-making conundrum, it finds itself in, how about this: Every citizen gets one vote for PM. The person with the most votes wins! How can a country loaded with so many super bright people not have considered this?

Since Israelis are mostly right wing, conservatives, they chose another supposed right wing, conservative, Naftali Bennett. He even wears a kippa! That’s a first for an Israeli PM and I really liked that. I recall on a few occasions some years ago when he was Minister of Defense, reaching out to him and encouraging him. He was saying the right things while at the time I thought that Bibi was too busy looking over his shoulder at what other world leaders or the EU were saying.

Fast forward to today. As far as I’m concerned, he made a deal with the devil. He wanted to be PM so badly that he partnered up with Islamists (Ra’am party) who want to destroy Israel. Led by  Mansour Abbas, this party with a total of a measly 6 seats in Israel’s parliament, now seems to hold all the cards. I know it’s crazy but the Bennett administration wants to remain in power so badly that they will appease Mansour and his cronies at all costs. Besides promising them over $16 billion dollars to help Israel’s Arabs, they have now crossed a new red line. I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the latest terrorist activity whereby 3 yeshiva students were shot in the town of Homesh (in the territories). One of them died in the attack, Yehuda Dimentman was only 25 years old when he was murdered. Studying Torah in Israel can be hazardous to your life!

So what does Bennett and his pals Benny Gantz and all do about this latest attack? Why they wipe out the small Jewish outpost in Homesh!  You can’t make this stuff up folks!  Of course the IDF found and captured all 5 of the terrorists. And they might even demolish one of their apartments. They will be given prison terms and most likely live a better life in Israeli prisons than they did at home.

Was the Jewish outpost in Homesh legal? Probably not (it’s impossible for me to ascertain this) but neither are the thousands of illegal Arab outposts!

Religious Jews like Dimentman are doing Israelis a brave service by inhabiting land in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) so that if and when Israel finally decides to formally annex this land as part of Israel proper (something they should have done soon after the 6 Day War), it will be easy and practical to do so. Instead of rewarding them, they are being punished.

Some of my colleagues point out that it’s Israel’s Leftist Supreme Court that is behind demolishing  Jewish outposts like Homesh rather than blaming PM Bennett or Gantz. I point out that Bibi had to deal with the same Leftist Supreme Court who made his life miserable and was out to get him, yet he never did anything like what is going on here today. The zeal that Bennett has shown in razing the town of Homesh immediately after the murder of one of its Jewish citizens while ignoring the thousands of illegal Arab outposts is frankly hard to  believe.

Others have pointed out that it was Bibi who first sought out a dialogue with Mansour Abbas. This is true. But I point out that as Israel’s leader, he needs to think out of the box and consider all options. There are times in history when deals are made with our enemies that were essential at the time. Making allies with Russia to fight the Nazis is such an example. Had we not, we could all be speaking German right now or worse. In the end, Bibi realized that no good could come out of a deal with this particular devil and gave up on the idea and thus lost the election.

Seeking change just for the hell of it, is not a good idea. Beware of demagogues who sell this as their motto when running as political leaders. Bennett promised that he would never join a coalition with the Ra’am party led by Mansour Abbas. Now he calls him ‘a brave man’. He promised that he would not join in with Leftists like Yair Lapid and others. He lied again.

I was fooled by his words many years ago but I wised up by his actions today. I urge others to do the same.

About the Author
Leon Kushner is a retired software developer raised by Holocaust survivors. He is a husband and father of three. His interests include music, art, hiking, water skiing, snow boarding, fly fishing, reading and writing. These days he is busy with his grandchildren but still finds time for his Jewish activism.
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