Israel Watch :: June 20, 2016

Hunting Bibi

Although Benjamin Netanyahu has been a model of consistency since assuming power in Israel for a second time (since 2009), he is still a target by political rivals.

A few weeks ago, in an effort to bolster his ruling coalition, Netanyahu replaced Moshe Ya’alon, the Foreign Minister, with Avidgor Lieberman. Now, long-time rival (and former PM) Ehud Barak says it’s time to remove Netanyahu “before it’s too late.”

Ya’alon announced this week that he’ll make a bid to replace Netanyahu. As is usually the case, the Jewish state faces so many daunting challenges, politics is anything but usual.

(A very interesting historical irony is now taking place, too. Netanyahu has met several times with Russia’s Putin, the latest coming last week. This is supremely ironic, given the fact that a couple generations ago, the Soviets had all sorts of client states in the Middle East, bedeviling Israel at every turn. Their hardware and observers decades ago led to the Six Day War and Yom Kippur War. Now they are behaving as an ally for Israel.)

Barak is claiming three things:

  • Netanyahu’s “right wing” government will alienate the world
  • Tear Israeli society apart
  • Sour American Jewish youth on Israel

I think this is ridiculous. The international community already loathes Israel. Secondly, Israeli society is unusually strong and together on many issues, such as security. Third, while some youth who are part of the Millennial generation are flirting with leftist ideas, many more remain strongly Zionist.

I think this is about political posturing and competition. Remember, many centrist Israeli politicians like Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni have chosen to make their own political careers priority no. 1.

Notice the odd nature of Barak’s statements:

“’I call on the government to get a hold of itself and to get back on track immediately,’ Barak said at the Interdisciplinary Center’s Annual Herzliya Conference.

“’If you do not, it will be the duty of all of us, yes, all of us, to get up out of our seats, no matter how comfortable they are – and to bring it down, through popular protest and through the ballot box, before it’s too late.’

“Barak stated that Israel was strong in every sense of the word, ‘able to face reality no matter how cruel it is and to defeat any enemy.’”

So, Israel is endangered because of the Netanyahu government, but at the same time, “strong.”

Which is it?

Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu (in the Hebrew: “Israel Is Our Home”) party has brought Netanyahu more seats and, frankly, some statements made recently by Ya’alon (Israel needs to make sure the country’s moral standards are maintained in the face of vicious terrorists) have alienated some on the right.

Barak has said that Netanyahu is leading Israel to “fascism” and to “the abyss.”


This is typical Israeli politics. The fact is, while one can quibble over some policy issues (I personally decry the government’s rather timid attitude toward allowing Jews on the Temple Mount—though it’s easy for me to say that from my perch), the Netanyahu government has kept the nation safe; no wars and while terrorism has claimed lives, Israel always has to deal with terrorists.

Barak was a failed premier and needs to stick to helping his rival, not undermining him. According to the Jerusalem Post:

“Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) accused Barak of refusing to accept the will of Israel’s voters. ‘Ehud Barak refuses to recognize Israeli democracy and Israel’s citizens’ choice of a nationalist government,’ he stated.

“’Israel has still not recovered from Barak’s short, but failed premiership, and here he is threatening to topple the government,’ Ariel said. ‘He’s like a pyromaniac who started a big fire and then gives advice about how to put it out.’”


Let’s all pray for Netanyahu in the coming days, months, and years. His sole task is to protect the nation.

One day soon, he’ll have to make a decision about Iran. And he will.