David Wolfowicz
David Wolfowicz

To Bibi or not to Bibi?

Let’s talk about Bibi. Actually no, let’s not. Let’s really not. I have spent the last four years being so incredibly grateful to NOT be an American. The media (and indeed, the general population) have spent the past four years splitting that country into “you’re with an orange man or against him.” This is both small-minded and divisive. Politics of division may work in the short term, but its shelf life is limited and, in the end, those who speak the language of unity ultimately prevail.

Much of Israel has drunk the Kool-Aid. That’s not to say that you can’t have an opinion on Bibi- he’s the PM and is worthy of scrutiny and praise where relevant. But to accuse him of being an egotistical megalomaniac and then proceeding to make him the center of your platform is ironic at best and hypocritical at worst.

So, for full disclosure, I have liked many of Netanyahu’s actions over the past decade and disliked just as many. I probably can’t put a number on it. He’s really 50/50 for me. I also do not want him to be the next Prime Minister *but* that is not one of my values in life. If he is the next PM, and there’s a fair to a good chance he will be, I hope he is more good than bad because I’m not going anywhere, no matter who is elected.

So, what are the dream scenarios for me? Either Bibi is replaced with someone who represents my values, or he is not, but due to a change in the make-up of the coalition, my values are better represented than in Bibi’s last government. So, how does all of this help me arrive at a vote for Yamina? Well, for starters, if I would prefer that Bibi be replaced, then I should probably stay away from a tactic that has proven completely ineffective in defeating him; namely, running a “just not Bibi” platform. Bibi is counting on people to attack him. It gives him fodder for the media and helps him whip his base into a frenzy. So, below is a list of parties who aren’t Bibi who I would contemplate voting for (parties such as Meretz, UTJ, the Joint List and even Labor have been left off because they are so far removed from my core values that I would never contemplate voting for them).

  1. Yesh Atid
  2. Tikvah Hadasha
  3. Tzionut Hadatit
  4. HaKalkalit
  5. Kahol Lavan
  6. Yisrael Betenu
  7. Yamina

Now, I disagree with many of these parties vehemently on an array of issues and still, I think this is my list of parties who aren’t Bibi who I could legitimately classify as ‘Zionist’. So, before calling me an extreme leftist or right-winger because of one or more of the parties on my list, just hear me out.

Dealing purely with the Bibi issue, everyone who I just listed has stated that they refuse to sit with Netanyahu or, in the case of the Tzionut HaDatit, that they will only sit with Netanyahu. There is, of course, one exception: Yamina. Bennett has refused the pressure of the media and of potential allies to declare his refusal or insistence to sit with Bibi. Now, we know that a refusal isn’t necessarily a refusal (I’m so old I can remember when Kahol Lavan broke their only campaign promise to sit with Bibi). But that just means that on this list, amongst the egoists, are a bunch of liars as well. Bibi has never been taken down by someone running on the platform of ‘anyone but Bibi’ and there is no reason to assume that this time will be different. In fact, the one who came closest turned out to be lying and ended up sitting with him! So, if you want to get rid of Netanyahu, maybe, just maybe, the way to do it is to stop focusing on Netanyahu?

On the Bibi front, Yamina is trying something different; they’re ignoring him (relatively speaking…). This means they can focus on some of the things that really matter in the day-to-day lives of Israelis (to be discussed in upcoming posts). So, if you care about making sure that Bibi stays, Yamina is not for you. If, however, you want Bibi to go but are fed up with tried and failed tactics, or if, like me, you’re just fed up with making this election about Bibi and want to focus on the nation, then maybe Yamina is exactly what you are looking for.

About the Author
David is originally from Sydney, Australia and moved to Israel ten years ago. He completed the Hesder program at Yeshivat Sha'alvim and served as a commander in the IDF's education corps, teaching in the framework of the Nativ program for soldiers in the process of conversion to Judaism. He holds a BA in Ancient History from Macquarie University and teaches on a range of topics related to Judaism and Zionism.
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