Paul Alster
Israel-based print and broadcast journalist

The duck that just quacked!

Remember Bibi’s AIPAC speech of earlier this year when our silver-tongued PM addressed an adoring audience of supporters and proceeded to give them the old ‘duck’ routine?

You know the one, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then what is it? That’s right, it’s a duck!  But this duck is a nuclear duck. And it’s time the world started calling a duck, a duck!” 

Bibi may very well be spot on in drawing world attention to Iran’s sinister nuclear ambitions, but within the space of a quite breathtaking 15 hours of polling yesterday he went from crowing rooster to potential lame duck and into a tailspin that sent feathers flying in all directions on the political compass.

The ‘Honourable Member for Caesarea’ will nonetheless almost certainly bring together a new set of partners to head a governing coalition, but having only weeks ago been expected to be an untouchable powerhouse, strutting his stuff, sitting on an overwhelming majority, dominating Israeli politics and ruling with an iron fist while dictating his vision of Israel to the outside world, he will now surely find his wings clipped, having to take proper account of the opinions of others from an unexpectedly broad political spectrum.

(It might have been broader still if the 1 in 3 of the Israeli electorate who didn’t had actually turned out to vote.  Apparently, they couldn’t give a ‘Donald’ – as the cockneys say…erm…a duck!)

A powerhouse no more? A lame duck stymied by the head-scratching mathematics of a virtually hung parliament? We’ll have to wait and see. But as long as Bibi doesn’t sell his soul to the even further right ultra-religious parties and instead goes into government with more rational minds that contribute their fair share to Israeli society, both he and the Israeli people might end up being all the better for the experience and, who knows, the duck might eventually turn into a swan – or is that taking the analogy just a little too far?

It might have been one of the toughest of nights for Bibi – doubtless Sara and the family were ‘treading on eggshells’ this morning – but let’s wish him (and more importantly Israel), the very best of luck.

Let’s hope that all concerned in the frenetic ongoing coalition negotiations think more about what’s good for the country than in just feathering their own nests to the exclusion of all others.

About the Author
Paul Alster is an Israel-based broadcast journalist with a special interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict and Middle East politics. He is a regular contributor to a variety of international news websites including The Jerusalem Report, and was formerly's main Middle East correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster or at