Blue and White is not likely to win the elections next week. Similar to the US, Israel is led by a criminally corrupt, racist and incitement riven hard Right coalition leader. Unlike the US, Israel has authentic and immediate “national crises” to manage on a day to day basis.
Netanhyahu has become a master at manipulating political sentiment using constant ‘crisis’ as his framework. His only vision for the future of Israel is a combination of keeping his day job and trying to stay out of jail. For that, he will need to long maintain – and nurture – Israel’s state of constant, daily crisis.
But that Likud will most likely win on April 9 does not remotely ensure another extended stay in office for Bibi.
Over the next year, despite repulsive and dangerous attacks on the media, law enforcement and about anybody he sees as his – personal – ‘enemy;’ despite Netanyahu’s deliberate empowerment of perhaps the most violently racist and illiberal Israeli political party on record, he will still be indicted with a strong potential to be ultimately found guilty. That also means that over the next year or so, Netanyahu will be out of office no matter how loudly he shrieks at the TV cameras.
Well before that happens, however, Israeli politicians who are not Likud – all conveniently called the ‘Left’ in Israeli media – need to give serious thought to actually having serious thoughts with regards to developing and offering an authentic forward thinking vision for Israel not concerned with Netanyahu’s next media tantrum.
The time to start is right now.
This means that Gantz and Lapid’s Blue and White must stop basing their electoral strategies and planning by pandering to and cowering from Netanyahu and his coalition’s rants, threats and name calling. A true opposition must first demonstrate it’s ability to stand up to and handle Likud’s baiting and their allied-in-desperation ultra-orthodox factions before talking about Hamas and so much more.
Blue and White’s initial ‘promise’ to reject bringing in any Arab parties was myopic and cowardly as in yet another ‘afraid of what Netanyahu will say’ moment. Israel can continue to be a ‘Jewish state’ without deliberately minimizing and degrading a whole sector of its own represented citizens who are not Jewish. In fact, Israel will become a stronger Jewish state by such actions. The minimization of elected Arab members of the Knesset is to Israel’s weakness which then includes understandable contempt from it’s Arab citizens.
And since the Palestinian and Hamas questions cannot continue to be kicked down the road for very much longer, a stronger coalition with Israel’s Arab citizens could be a pivotal point.
Whatever ‘understandings’ Netanyahu has with Hamas and aligned parties needs to be identified and put on the table. How many of us believe recent, dangerous Hamas missile launches really were an accident caused by lightening? That the Trump Administration has also found a certain symbiosis with America’s violent Right is a potential lesson.
Blue and White should make a clear promise right now to work and participate with identified Arab parties in the Knesset.
Blue and White must next resume Tommy Lapid’s focus on breaking up the ultra-orthodox pseudo-oligarchy which continues to feed off the state while contributing little in return but more acrimony and division among Jews. It’s time for the ultra-orthodox to become participants in rather than still more opponents to the State of Israel.
I also seriously doubt Shas’ hysterics that Blue and While will ‘move’ Israel’s gay pride parade to the Western Wall. But so what if that happened? Individuals who don’t like it can continue to face the Wall and pray as they will while the rest can turn around in a show of show of support for fellow Israeli Jews.
Israel’s strength has long been founded through the participation of all Jews rather than those selected out by the ultra-orthodox and/or hard Right government. Israel’s strength would also be enhanced by giving true relevance and representation to its Arab citizens by and through their elected MPs. It’s time to stop pandering to Netanyahu while fearing his next authoritarian, propaganda rich and anti-democracy rant. Even with a win on April 9, Netanyahu and Likud are on a political egg timer.
Now’s the time for the Blue and White; for the Israeli opposition – the ‘non-Israeli Right’ – to truly get their act together and create an honest, secure, inclusive and mutually strong future vision for Israel.