Benny Gantz has a chance to win over the most influential group of American Jews during his appearance at AIPAC. He must not miss this opportunity to score important political support, both at this conference and more importantly back home in Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will also be speaking at the Conference, following Gantz, but the attendees will be more interested in hearing directly from the res-General who they don’t really know than from the Prime Minister that they do know. And they don’t want to hear about how wonderful and important AIPAC is; they want and need to hear what Gantz and the party he leads, “Blue & White” are going to do for Israel and to improve ties with the American Jewish Community.
His speech needs to draw a distinct difference between his vision for the future of Israel and that which has been orchestrated by the current Prime Minister. He needs to talk about Iran – the biggest existential threat to Israel and to world peace – in a reasoned and forthright manner. He needs to point out again – the failings of the JCPOA and provide a vision of how under his leadership Iranian aggression and attempts to acquire a nuclear bomb will be thwarted.
Benny Gantz needs to address the crises on Israel’s borders, specifically the unsustainable situation of the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip and the Iranian menace that is Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran/Hezbollah in Syria. It needs to be made clear to the audience that Netanyahu’s policies have failed and that a new direction with better results are what is needed.
Res-General Gantz needs to discuss the future of any possible peace plans regarding the Palestinian Arabs. He has to underline that his future Government will never agree to implement any territorial concessions to the Palestinians that would jeopardize the security of the State of Israel. He has to say to Americans that people need to consider that perhaps there cannot be a “two state solution”and, as such, the Israel that he would lead must be open to new thinking. He could suggest a dual track plan that would both improve the lives of all of the inhabitants of Judea and Samaria while at the same time adhere to reality; that there currently is no Palestinian peace partner with whom to cut a deal. Given the facts on the ground Israel’s policies regarding the relationship with the Palestinians cannot remain as it has been under Netanyahu: “business as usual”.
He has to talk about how is Government would begin to address the social and economic wrongs that are currently hurting Israeli society. The very high cost of housing and food; the problems in the medical system; the lack of new hospitals being built; the problems with the transportation infrastructure; the overreaching power of the orthodox establishment; all these issues needed to be mentioned.
As he will be in America talking to a Jewish American audience Benny Gantz should bring up two issues which have definitely hurt the Israel-American-Jewish alliance. First, the cancellation by Netanyahu of the agreement reached with Natan Sharansky and American Jewish leaders regarding the kotel. If we are indeed “one people” somebody has to say “no” to the orthodox rabbis with respect to their control of access to the entire kotel. The wall with all of its significance belongs to all of the Jewish people, orthodox or not, and his Government should ensure that this will be the case.
Secondly, Benny Gantz should state unequivocally that while Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people it is also the home for all of its citizens and as such his Government will attach an amendment to the “National Law” that will recognize that inclusiveness is a strength and not a weakness and repair the damage done to Israel’s international reputation.
In closing, he should also underscore the moral difference between his party and the party of the current Government. Namely that the continuing and growing indictments against the Prime Minister are serious and not just politics. That no one person should have held some many Government portfolios at the same time. That no leader of Israel needs to spend $275 million on a prime ministerial airplane. That no leader who would put the best interests of his country first would ever contemplate entering a coalition with followers of the late rabbi Meir Kahane. A corrupt leader is not the person who should be leading the next Government of Israel and that is a point that needs to be made forcefully and continually so that “King Bibi” will hopefully not be re anointed!