Michael Jackson

Worst Jewish Leader, Ever    

On a New York Times podcast series, The Ezra Klein Show, Thomas Friedman, the famous journalist and author of “From Beirut to Jerusalem”, stated that Netanyahu was ‘the worst Jewish leader, ever”

Interesting statement, I thought. A few thousand years of history.  There have been many, many Jewish leaders.  Netanyahu is not THE leader of the Jewish people.  He is a major leader of some of them, but that is true of many past Jewish leaders also.  So I thought I would compare Netanyahu one-to-one with some past Jewish leaders with some attempted humor where possible.

Let’s start:

  1. Abraham.  God commanded Abraham to kill his (favorite) son, but Netanyahu empowering Hamas with Qatari money facilitated the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis.  So Abraham was better than Netanyahu.
  1. Isaac.  Isaac played favorites with his two sons but nothing as serious as Netanyahu favoring Hamas over the Palestinian Authority.
  1. Jacob.  He also played favorites with his sons.  But his favoritism was not as bad as Netanyahu’s corruption and double-crossing.
  1. Joseph.  He was an interpreter of dreams;  far less dangerous than Netanyahu’s mendacious schemes

So far the Jewish leaders in Genesis have all beaten Netanyahu.

  1. Moshe.  Our next big Jewish leader led us out of Egypt and to the promised land and freedom.  Netanyahu led us into Gaza (once part of Egypt) and death for Israeli soldiers and far more Gazan civilians.
  1. Joshua.  Joshua may have caused the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down with the subsequent massacre of nearly all the residents.  But that was war then.  There was no 1949 4th Geneva Convention rules of war.  Today, few countries perform the indiscriminate bombing that Netanyahu is performing.
  1. Samuel.  At least, the prophet Samuel had God’s command to destroy the Amalekites and kill the Amalekite king, Agag.  Netanyahu had no such divine prescription and has not yet killed the Hamas “king”, Sinwar.
  1. David.  To attempt to compare the failure of Netanyahu to the greatest of the Israelite kings is an exercise in futility.
  1. Solomon.  Solomon had 700 wives;  Netanyahu has more than 700 lies, deceits, and corruption.

We have finished the Hebrew bible and Netanyahu is still at the bottom of the heap

  1. Judah the Maccabee.  Judah was the liberator of Israel from the Syrians;  Netanyahu hasn’t even liberated the West Bank or Gaza.
  1. Herod.  At least, Herod built some fine buildings, harbors, and aqueducts to the land;  under Netanyahu, Israeli development has mainly been performed by private hands.
  1. Jesus.  A Torah observant Jew.  He wouldn’t eat Netanyahu’s favorite food when overseas: treif sushi.  Anyway, it was hardly Jesus’s fault that his followers were perverted by the teachings of Paul.
  1. Rabbi Akiva.  He sacrificed his life for his Jewish beliefs;  Netanyahu sacrificed the well-being of Israel to stay in power
  1. Bar Kochba.  He did have the Romans on the run for a while but ultimately lost against a far superior force, the Romans.  Netanyahu’s aim of “destroying Hamas” is being fought against a military force far weaker than the IDF.
  1. Rashi.  A genius in Torah interpretation.  A non-politician, he harmed no one, unlike Netanyahu.
  1. Rambam.  See Rashi (above)
  2. Shabbetai Tzvi.  he may, indeed, have been a worse leader than Netanyahu in terms of deception and demagogic populist following but since he converted to Islam and died a Muslim, he is out of the running.
  1. Herzl.  The founder of political Zionism.  One of the great leaders who helped move the vision of a Jewish State from imagination into reality.
  1. Ben-Gurion.  Israel’s first prime minister who oversaw the growth of the nascent Israeli state. Other than Netanyahu himself, few would dare compare Netanyahu to Ben Gurion. Ben-Gurion was a man of the Left.  He wanted a fair and just society.  Netanyahu wants to turn Israel into a little America.
  1. Golda Meir.  The Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. She was Prime Minister during the terrible Yom Kippur war.   She bears less responsibility for that war than Netanyahu does for the October 7th massacre and subsequent Israel-Gaza war.
  1. Yitzhak Rabin.  I quote this from the Times of Israel, October 2022:   In the weeks before the assassination, Netanyahu, then head of the opposition, and other senior Likud members attended a right-wing political rally in Jerusalem where protesters branded Rabin a “traitor,” “murderer,” and “Nazi” for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians earlier that year.   He also marched in a Ra’anana protest as demonstrators behind him carried a mock coffin.”   Enough said.

From TOI:

After this romp through nearly 4,000 years of Jewish history, we can say that Thomas Friedman is correct.   Netanyahu is the worst leader, ever.  Netanyahu must leave office. Now.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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