Michael Boyden

Time to say Goodbye

Few will forget the magical concert at the Albert Hall in November 1996 when Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman for the first time sang together the song by Francesco Sartori, Frank Peterson and Lucio Quarantotto entitled “Con te partirò” (“Time to say Goodbye”).

It is hard to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu had already been elected as prime minister earlier that year having just defeated Shimon Peres by a margin of less than 1% of the total number of votes cast.

Nearly 30 years later Bibi is still prime minister.

Most Israelis are sick and tired of him. Having divided the nation, he has yet to take responsibility for the horrific massacre on October 7th. Public opinion polls conducted in March gave his Likud party between just 17 and 21 mandates.

His coalition government is in shambles. They failed in their efforts to pass legislation to limit the powers of the Supreme Court. Israel’s credit rating has been cut and Moody’s has lowered Israel’s outlook from stable to negative, and sees a possible further downgrade in the future. Bibi has proven incapable of resolving the issue of the conscription of the haredim. The international community loathes him.

However, it was the Hamas’s incursion into Israel, the lack of preparedness for such a possibility, the ineptitude of the government in addressing the needs of those displaced from their homes, and their lack of sensitivity to the plight of the families whose loved ones are still being held hostage in Gaza nearly six months later that have led many to say enough is enough.

The 4-day march on Jerusalem this week has drawn hundreds of thousands to Israel’s capital demanding elections and arguing, among other things, that Bibi’s strategy during this war has been primarily aimed at keeping himself in power rather than in bringing the hostages home.

In a pathetic press conference this evening (Sunday) Bibi tried to justify his behaviour. He doesn’t seem to hear what the nation is saying. Ben-Gvir can send in policeman on horseback and employ water cannons against the protesters, but it won’t quench the fire.

Bibi, it is time to say goodbye. You are about to go into hospital for a hernia operation having already had a pacemaker fitted last Summer. Listen to your body. Go home and let someone younger, who can unite our country, take the reins.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.