The King of the
By Jim Fletcher
Jordan’s King Abdullah said
the other day that if a deal isn’t struck between Israel
and the Palestinians soon, the opportunity will be lost for generations.
He surely knows that’s false.
The international community is so addicted to pushing a
pacifier into the collective mouth of the Palestinians that it’s quite likely
the effort will continue for
A pity that Abdullah doesn’t have the moral courage of his
grandfather, who reached out to the Jews in reconciliation. He got shot for his
efforts, in front of the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
The Arabs haven’t had a leader of moral vision since.
With Ehud Olmert’s political exit coming up, Israel
will look for a new premier. One senses that the people themselves are tired
from the process. There is a sort of Jimmy Carter-like malaise infecting the
country. Benjamin Netanyahu is thought to be in the lead, should there be
general elections (which, of course, he is pushing for). But should Olmert’s
Kadima party hold power and appoint a successor, Israel
could find itself with its second female prime minister. Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni (a former Mossad operative!) has designs on the job. Whether she would be
another Golda Meir, no one can say.
In modern elections, Israelis (especially the Zionist Likud
Party) hail a new prime minister in almost biblical terms: “Hail, Bibi, King of
Israel!” “Hail, Arik [Sharon], King of Israel!”
Then, of course, the term of office is riddled with
corruption, foreign policy failures, and hubris. It has been easy for various
commentators to pile-on Olmert: a failed strategy in Lebanon in 2006; the descent
of Gaza into another
terrorist nest; corruption. But I would argue Olmert is no worse than many of
The difficulty facing any Israeli prime minister is
compounded by the fact that he/she must govern a country that is the joy of a
jealous God. Although the Creator loves all people — and makes provision for
them in scripture — it isn’t like Sarkozy of France, or even President Bush
looks out their office at a biblical landscape.
God didn’t decide to make the Aztecs the apple of his eye.
Nor the Russians. Ditto for the Albanians.
It is Israel
that today must live between different worlds. On the one hand, an Israeli prime
minister must do the same things all heads-of-state do: govern, set economic
policy, handle diplomacy. On the other hand, there are constant reminders of the
Bible, and the One who upholds Israel
through daily, miraculous means.
I would argue that an Israeli prime minister must be a man
or woman of enormous physical and mental stamina. Most countries do not face
existential danger on a daily basis. Olmert does. Ben Gurion did. Peres did.
Rabin did. Eshkol did.
Is it any wonder that Ehud Olmert constantly looks like
someone just killed his best friend? It is a demanding job!
Netanyahu is unusually qualified to lead. His speaking
gifts, combined with his intelligence, business experience, and combat history
enable him to see things as they are, not as he wishes them to be (see Shimon
Yet, should Bibi Netanyahu become “king,” we should all
pray more earnestly for him. His first premiership, a decade ago, elicited such
psychotic rage from the Left that they eventually drove him from office. A man
so hated must have a very strong center.
Let us hope that the next Israeli prime minister will
continue to be lifted up in prayer, by Israel’s