Political Death Spiral Brings Bibi Full Circle

The massive display towers above central Tel Aviv for all to see. The American president and Israeli prime minister side by side, right hands tightly interlocked and the moniker in Hebrew above proclaiming “Netanyahu. Another League.” This campaign poster is another sad attempt by the prime minister’s handlers to show that “only Bibi” has the ability to operate on the global stage. Bibi, the charismatic wonder-kid tasked over two decades ago with carrying the Likud mantle and in short order ordained King of Israel by his believers.

From the picture, one might be impressed – President Trump looks quite comfortable next to Bibi – that is the point of the ad though, to show the closeness of the two leaders and imply that this somehow will benefit the citizens of Israel. As with most things Bibi, the ad is misleading, and as he will soon see others can just as easily slide into the role and succeed at establishing warm ties with state leaders. The truth is, Bibi is not liked by people, he leads a nation that has importance in world affairs, and according to polls, outside of security, he has led it poorly. Forget the scandals which have at the most, rendered him a convicted felon walking, or at least added an asterisk next to his name in the prime minister hall of fame – casting a cloud on whatever accomplishments he will take credit for.  The nation he leads does not like him – and yet because of his reputation for security he gets elected because security is what is most important to the populace.

The Israeli prime minister has no measurable integrity. He changes his opinions based on the best outcome for his role as leader. He is not loyal, has stabbed countless aides and colleagues in the back to avoid personal scrutiny – just a few weeks ago he threw his army liaison under the bus and looked foolish doing so. Last week he put off a vital State visit to meet with Putin on Syria and Iran, which he has claimed over and again is the biggest threat to Israel’s security. He put it off to orchestrate a merger between the far-far right and the far-far-far right to try and save his premiership. What is crazy about pushing off Putin is that Russia, Syria, Iran recently had a summit opposite the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw earlier this month, one would think the priority for Israel’s security would be continue the interlocution with Russia right after they met with Israel’s arch enemy. By doing this, Bibi showed he is not a leader who puts country and citizens first, he puts his own interests ahead of the nation – unless Iran and Syria are not that big of a problem in which case he showed the nation and world he is a liar.

When one looks at the deal Bibi made which caused him to postpone his meeting, one sees first-hand the lowly depths Netanyahu will go to maintain control. The move was the signs of a captain who is willing to take down his entire ship and crew to stay in power. Integrity out the window, deal with the devils who genuinely give Jews a bad name and in doing so, brought a banned and outlawed party, or at least their racist philosophies (which are also banned) into the mainstream elections. If Netanyahu manages to still win this election, he would have successfully added true fascistic elements to Israel’s government and confirm to the world we are not a country looking for peace through negotiation.

True leaders have integrity. True leaders do not like those who do not. Even the American president, with all his baggage, believes fiercely in loyalty and trustworthiness – it is how he built his first empire, and how he built his second after the first one crumbled. Does Bibi believe that Trump doesn’t see these actions as the mark of a man with a flawed character? And the other leaders, Merkel, Macron, May, Trudeau even Putin who crosses lines and has questionable ethics and loyalty himself, does Bibi believe that they trust him? Netanyahu just threw his country under the bus to try and save his own ass, no rational person can say this will not have an effect on how he is perceived around the world.

So why would a guy who has it all gamble it all? In short, his competition in the upcoming elections. A popular sitting party joining forces with a new party lead by the kind of man Israelis old and young like to vote for, a general, but not just any military leader, a tall, handsome and charismatic one. One who was praised and touted as a great man by the Israeli Prime Minister when the latter appointed the former to be Army Chief-of-Staff and again, when his term as Chief was up.

So, Benny Gantz (AKA General McDreamy) was good enough for Bibi to back him to lead the most crucial entity in Israel but somehow now he is no good. By bringing up a two-decade old controversy and using that as a source of proof that Gantz is dishonorable, Bibi threw himself under the bus because it was him who appointed Gantz as Army Chief well after the controversy. Do you see how far down the spiral we are at this point? Netanyahu wants the Israeli people to know Gantz cannot be trusted because of mistakes made – so why did he trust him to lead the Army? Is Bibi saying now he made a mistake earlier? If so, why does he deserve our trust after admitting he has made such blunders while leading us in the past?

The ground underneath Bibi is shaking, the foundations of his entire legacy are buckling and he knows it. The rambling of Netanyahu’s arrogant, entitled child are clear signs the entire family knows it. The Prime Minister’s son got into a tweet spat with a former Prime Minister’s grandchild – Yitzhak Rabin’s grandchild to be exact and it did not go well. Regardless of where people sit politically, the common practice in Israel has been to not speak ill of dead heroes, especially about the ones your father had a role in killing. The wounds of that time are still fresh – people still remember the hate and the shock, Yair Netanyahu accomplished nothing but reminding the nation of how complicit Bibi was in the most tragic moment in The State of Israel’s short history. Bib’s endorsement and encouragement of a merger that would bring in militant, racist group into the Knesset is full circle from where he began. Bibi rode to power on the tails of right wing militants, he will fall from power on those same tails.

About the Author
Jay Engelmayer is a 49 year old husband and father of four. Professionally his focus has been digital marketing and business development for commercial products. A proud and unapologetic American-Israeli Zionist, he enjoys cooking and yelling at television screens. Some consider him argumentative in nature, although he prefers "purposeful cynic" when describing his disposition. Living in Israel, he hails from New York City and is glad he left before it became the 1970's redux it is today.
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