The telephone in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem rang twice. Both calls originated from the White House in Washington. The first call from newly-elected American democratic president, Joe Biden to then prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu rang two months after the president had been sworn into office. The second call to newly-elected prime minister Naftali Bennett came only in two hours after the swearing-in.
Perhaps it took President Biden two months to find Netanyahu’s telephone number. More likely it was his distaste of Netanyahu that prompted him to delay a phone call. Not so with Bennett whom he respects and admires.
While Netanyahu was a sitting prime minister at the time of America’s election of Joe Biden for president, he was not extended an invitation to visit the White House. For president Biden, Bibi was a persona non grata. Bennett can expect an invitation very soon after he has settled into his new role as our prime minister.
One of Biden’s grievances against Netanyahu, a very understandable reason, was due to Netanyahu’s “marriage” to the Trump Republican party completely ignoring the Democratic party. Democrats in Congress were disturbed by Bibi’s lack of respect and concern for them. Rightly so.
Netanyahu had always tossed his hat in the ring for his buddy, Donald J. Trump. Two birds of a feather who flocked together and who fell together.
Naftali Bennett, our distinguished new prime minister, will not make that error. Rather than prostituting himself as Netanyahu had done Bennett will embrace both American political parties warmly and with respect and esteem from both. And in return, the American political block from the White House to the Congress to the public will reciprocate the feelings to the new Israeli government.
Bibi must be grinding his teeth. “How come I waited two months to get the call and Bennett got in in only two hours? It’s unfair”. The only “unfair” thing was Bibi Netanyahu himself. A failed hero.
Two similarities. Naftali Bennett, born in Jerusalem, had two American-born parents. Bibi Netanyahu, born in Jerusalem, was educated in America. Both understand quite well the American way of life and American values. But Naftali Bennett knows American courtesies far better than Bibi Netanyahu. There the two similarities end.
The American printed and audio news are rendering high praises and welcome wishes to Bennett. They have little favorable remarks to make of our thank God ousted former prime minister Netanyahu.
As soon as the Netanyahu family is packed up and moved out of the official residence on Balfour street, the Bennett family may quickly move in from their present home in Ra’anana.
Gilat will replace Sara. And that is my happiest dream. A gifted young new First Lady with good manners, good words and good attitudes.
She does not put a ring in Naftali’s nostrils to drag him beside her nor a leash to keep him in chains. She has no fears that his eyes might wander. He is free to speak, to write, to do what he thinks is best for us first, the citizens of Israel, and afterwards for himself and does not need his wife’s permission to act upon his wishes. His children, still young, are well-mannered and show respect to others.
Unlike Sara and Yair, there is no comparison between the two of them, the unpopular past first lady and the new present one.
The neighbors of the Netanyahus in Caesarea may await their arrival with loud cheers or with audible silence. How many of them will invite the disgraced former minister and wife to tea and cakes? And how many of them will ever be welcome guests into the Netanyahu villa? God forbid that Sara should have to wash tea cups and cake plates !
Today we begin a new life for ourselves. Fresh air after twelve years of polluted air. Blessings in place of curses. Warm words replacing hostile threats. Israel is celebrating the re-birth of our democracy, hidden from us by most of the last twelve years. We can take much pride in its re-birth and in the warm reception it is receiving from nations around the world including our Arab neighbor-states in the Middle East.
Peace will not erupt immediately. After 73 years of bitter bloodshed and wars, we have not succeeded in even coming closer to our Palestinian enemies on our borders. I doubt that we ever will, but I put faith in the new government that it will attempt to speak and meet with the leaders of the Palestinians in order to resolve those matters which can possibly be resolved, which do not include a division of Jerusalem nor a return of 1948 refugees or their families.
Talk about trade, health, security, water rights and border control are topics which can be discussed in face to face meetings if the Palestinian side agrees. (I am not holding my breath. Not too much left to hold anyway. Penalty of growing old).
Two hours following President Biden’s first phone call to our new prime minister Naftali Bennett, some miracles may happen.
And why not? After all, we are living in the land of miracles. The State of miracles. The land which God promised us and gave to us with His eternal blessings.
Let us treasure those blessings. Let us treasure the land. And let us treasure the new government which will lead us on the highway to happiness.
Hatzlacha raba ! Much success !