Ben Herman
Building Community, One Person at a Time

Netanyahu and Super Teams

I’ve always been intrigued by super teams. Ever since Lebron James took his talents to South Beach, I’ve been interested in those who join together. After Lebron set the mold, we had Kevin Durant join the 73 win Golden State Warriors.

The Israeli elections in April and September were a story of Bibi Netanyahu versus a super team. Netanyahu, the magician who has held power in Israel for over a decade, was unable to have been beaten by any one leader, be it Tzipi Livni, Amir Peretz or Isaac Herzog. It took a “super team” of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon joining together to form a party to rival Netanyahu. Three parties (Israel Resilience, Yesh Atid and Telem) morphed into one (Blue-White) and combined they could not get more seats than Likud in April 2019. In September they have (barely) succeeded in getting more seats than Bibi’s Likud party.

In this case, a strong leader (a “dominant player”) needs a “super team” to even serve as a rival. Like him or hate him, Netanyahu has been on the forefront of Israel for so long that it took Gantz, Lapid and Yaalon banding together to seriously challenge him. In contrast, when three parties joined together in 2015 (Labor, Hatunah and Green Movement), they had 6 fewer seats than Netanyahu’s Likud.

Closely watching these last two Israeli elections made me fully appreciate the power of Netanyahu and how much it took for an alliance to get more votes than him. Without the corruption charges, perhaps Bibi would have won handily again. Regardless of where one is politically and what the final coalition will be like (or if there will be a third government in Israel) I hope that we can appreciate the power of Bibi-and the need for a super team to challenge his grip on Israel.

About the Author
Rabbi Ben Herman is the Senior Rabbi at Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, California. He has previously created initiatives and helped implement programs such as Drive In Shabbat, a Drive Through Sukkah, a student-led musical service called Friday Night Live, Shabbat on the Beach, and the United Synagogue Schechter Award-winning Hiking and Halacha. Rabbi Herman also serves on the Rabbinical Assembly's Conversion Commission as well as its Derech Eretz and Social Action Committees. He is a Mahloket Matters Fellow with PARDES and has previously been part of JOIN for Justice's Community Organizing Fellowship as well as the Institute for Jewish Spirituality's Clergy Leadership Program. Rabbi Herman's focus is growing the membership through outreach and relational Judaism, including creating Havurot, implementing engaging programming and enhancing the Educational and Young Family programs at Mosaic Law. Rabbi Herman earned a Bachelors Degree in History, Hebrew and Jewish Studies with Comprehensive Honors in 2005 and received Rabbinic Ordination with a Masters Degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011. Rabbi Herman married Karina in June 2014, and the two of them are very excited to be living in Sacramento and in California, Karina's home state. They welcomed daughters Ariela Shira in February 2016 and Leora Rose in December 2018.