Where’s Bibi ?

In a few days Bibi will be on a plane to address the US Congress and American Jews at AIPAC. No point in adding to the endless words spilled debating the trip…he’s going.

But the vast majority of we Israeli voters have to ask: Where’s Bibi?

The answer for most of us in this campaign is: in two witty You Tube videos but nowhere else addressing the broad range of domestic and foreign policy issues of concern to Israeli voters. One can be sure Bibi will be all over the TV screens in the US during his trip giving interviews. But here at home he has given one TV interview while all the other candidates are routinely grilled by reporters. While others are travelling around  the country on the campaign trail Bibi makes only a few appearances to carefully chosen friendly audiences.

At the very beginning of the campaign the Prime Minister was asked in that one interview about holding a debate with his opponents. He dismissed the idea as unnecessary.

Since then the major television channels have issued invitations to a televised debate among all the candidates. All have accepted with the exception of two Yakov Litzman of the Ashkenazi Charedi United Torah party and the sitting Prime Minister. Israel proudly declares itself the only democracy in the Middle East. But such debates are routine in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada and Australia among others…don’t we in Israel deserve the same?

The channels have said that if the Prime Minister doesn’t attend they will hold the debate with an empty chair with his name on it …I hope they do.

This is not an issue of left or right pro or anti Bibi. Surely his opponents would like the opportunity to debate. But those sure that he should be elected to another term should want the debate as well. Mr. Netanyahu’s poll numbers have been at best unchanged since the beginning of the campaign. Surely those enthusiastic about his candidacy would want the opportunity for him to make his case and therefore gain support.

As the election campaign approaches its conclusion don’t we Israeli voters deserve that the answer to Where’s Bibi? will be: on our TV screens here in Israel debating the other candidates soon after his return from the US?

About the Author
Larry Weinman is an investment advisor and recent oleh.He is active in organizations and study with groups involved in "hitchadshoot hayahadut" study and activity between dati and lo dati Israelis and in organizing activities by these groups in the United States. He is also active with other political/social change groups. His writings have been published in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and Washington Jewish Week.