Israel election: What Netanyahu's victory means
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." That Churchillian one-liner summarizes the glorious chaos that is Israeli politics.
In the one Middle Eastern nation where you can still speak your mind without being arrested, disappeared, or executed, Israelis went to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu or Isaac "Bougie" Herzog would lead the Jewish State for the next four years.
The unexpected out come came as a shock to many pundits on both sides of the Atlantic. Netanyahu’s Likud Party won between 29 and 30 seats Mr. Herzog’s Zionist Union’s, 24. This means that Netanyahu will be given time to forge a new coalition government.
Without question the results will deeply disappoint President Obama and some European leaders, who were hoping Israelis would swap out an intractable “hawk” for a more flexible “dove,” one whom they assumed would pave the way for a quick final deal with Iran and hasten a two-state solution in the Holy Land before President Obama leaves office.
In reality however, there is no real distance between Bibi and Bougie over the existential threat posed by Iran. Israel’s next prime minister must come up with a plan to thwart Tehran, whose leaders continue to call for the Jewish State’s annihilation, from becoming a nuclear power.
Additionally, Jerusalem will be confronted with a new strategic threat from Iran and its Hezbollah terrorist lackeys whose brazen entrenchment on the Golan Heights has raised nary a peep from the U.S. or the European Union.
Even if Israel’s left had prevailed it is hard to imagine that a deal for a Two-State solution could be reached in the next two years. Hamas’ continuous terrorism and genocidal hate and the celebration by leaders of the PA of vicious terrorist outrages against Jews, have left most Israelis warily awaiting a Palestinian leader -- someone unlike PA President Abbas -- who would be ready to tell his constituents that their Jewish neighbors are there to stay and that the Jewish state has a legitimate right to be there.
Against this background it seems almost ludicrous for anyone to believe that Israeli voters could somehow be manipulated by forces outside of Israel as to whom they should cast their ballots for. For us as Americans, Election Day is certainly important. For most Israeli parents -- right, center, and left -- who have to send their 18-year-old sons and daughters for two years of military service to protect the homeland -- they cast their votes as if their lives and the lives of their children depend on making the right choice. Those in Washington who were reportedly involved in such an effort did a great disservice to both democracies.
I was present in our nation’s capital for Netanyahu’s speech on Iran. Love him or hate him, everyone in the Chamber, and Israelis watching at home, saw a true world leader in action. In the end, his respectful and masterful speech reminded everyone, that he has earned his place on the international stage, no matter how discomfiting his message is to some.
Finally, it would not surprise me if, when Israeli President Ruby Rivlin invites Netanyahu to form the next government, he winds up reaching out to some of the very people who tried to topple him, especially those who gave strong voice to the frustrations of young couples lacking affordable housing as well as the many citizens left behind by Israel’s expanding economy.
After all, that would be the Churchillian thing to do.