Life has gotten tough for Israelis. There’s no good news any more.
For example, in less than a week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a national election. He’s running for re-election. He should be happy.
He’s just given (on March 3, 2015) a blockbuster of a speech to a joint session of the US Congress. His name recognition around the world is sky-high. More Israeli voters believe he’s better suited to be Prime Minister than his major opponent, Labor leader Isaac Herzog (Jonathan Beck, “Tide is turning for Zionist Union with 25 seats in new poll”, Times of Israel, March 10, 2015).
That’s good news, right?
No, it’s not good news—at least, not for Netanyahu. He’s behind in the polls. According to those polls, if the election had been held yesterday, today would be the first day of the rest of his life—out of politics (“Labor Opens Largest Lead on Likud Since Campaign Started”, Arutz Sheva, March 10, 2015).
In Israel, voters can tell pollsters you’re the best man for the job and then turn around and tell pollsters they prefer the other guy.
It’s difficult to say if that reflects negatively on Israel’s voters or on Israel’s pollsters. Maybe it just reflects badly on both.
That's bad news for somebody in Israel.
Al-Jazeera recently suggested that Israeli arms exports makes Israel a war-monger who sells death (““Most of these people were born to die…we just have to help them”, Al-Jazeera English Facebook, January 28, 2015).That enflamed anti-Israel sentiment (Reader Comment: ‘selling arms is an act of terrorism’, ibid).
Now we see that Saudi Arabia exports more weapons than anyone else in the world (“Saudi Arabia Becomes World’s Largest Weapons Exporter”, Arutz Sheva, March 11, 2015). Nobody cares. They say Israel’s a war-monger.
Israel can’t catch a break.
Then there’s ISIS. They’re terrorists. They’re barbaric. But they’re also, apparently, students of ‘the Zionists’ (“'ISIS learned from Zionists'”, YNET, March 11, 2015).
Our upcoming elections don’t offer any good news at all. Labor leader Herzog tried to give everyone some good news by separating himself from his opponent Netanyahu. He’s declared he’s a uniter, Netanyahu’s a divider (“Herzog: I want to unite, while Netanyahu divides”, YNET, March 10, 2015).
But then, at an anti-Netanyahu/pro-Herzog rally, one of Herzog’s supporters told the rally that religious Jews were “thieves and bribe-takers...amulet-kissers, idol worshipers and bowers...at the graves of saints” who had taken over the country (Lahav Harkov, “Herzog distances himself from Gerboz, Sobol anti-religious comments”, Jerusalem Post, march 10, 2015).
Even if Israel’s uniters and dividers keep running into bad news, there’s still good news for Israel: America is worse.
Americans laugh with derision at the chaotic tumult of Israeli elections. But these days, Israelis might be laughing with derision at Americans.
For example, Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton used an unsecure personal email account for government (State Department) emails. She broke the law. Her defense is, she did it for ‘convenience’ (Tim Walker, “Hillary Clinton email row: Former US Secretary of State says using private account a 'matter of convenience'”, The Independent, March 11, 2015).
Hilary Clinton wants to be President of the United States. But when she was Secretary of State, she exposed tens of thousands of email communications to security breaches. She says, maybe using a secure government email site would have been ‘smarter’ (Laura Meckler and Josh Dawsey, “Hillary Clinton Says It Would Have Been ‘Smarter’ to Use Government Email”, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2015).
Vote for Hilary! She’s not that smart. But she sure knows how to make life convenient!
The Obama administration has a problem helping wounded and injured veterans get proper health care. It seems that there’s not enough money to help them. Now we know why: the administration spends its money on building renovations (Mary Lou Byrd, “Obama’s VA Spent $3.3 Billion on the Agency’s Buildings as Vets Died Awaiting Care”, The Washington Free Beacon, March 10, 2015).
Meanwhile in Israel, earlier this year, anti-Netanyahu activists tried to create a scandal over Mrs. Netanyahu’s efforts to recycle bottles from the Prime Minister’s residence. Instead of congratulating her for ‘going green’, they accused her of robbing the state of perhaps $1,500 a year by supposedly pocketing the money from her recycling effort. (“Bottlegate? Netanyahu denies wife pocketed state money in cash-for-bottles scheme”, rt .com, January 31, 2015).
But while Mrs Netanyahu was supposedly pinching government pennies, the US was wasting real money: it spent more than 2 million dollars to install drapes for diplomat residences in Moscow (Elizabeth Harrington, “State Department Spends $2.15 Million on Drapes for Diplomats in Moscow”, The Washington Free Beacon, March 10, 2015).
Last month, to blunt a potentially powerful Netanyahu speech, current US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed Netanyahu with an accusation that Netanyahu was wrong (back in 2002) about Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’. His point was, if he was wrong then, why should we listen to him now about Iran (Joel Pollak, “Kerry: Netanyahu Was Wrong About Iraq–Why Trust Him on Iran?”, breitbart, February 25, 2015).
Now it turns out that US Vice President Joe Biden makes Benjamin Netanyahu look like a genius. According to Kerry, Netanyahu was wrong in 2002. But according to at least one US Senator, Biden’s been wrong for 40 years (Evan McMurray, “Sen. Cotton Fires Back: Biden’s Been Wrong on Foreign Policy for Last 40 Years”, Mediaite, March 10, 2015).
On one level, this is all good news for Israel: America isn’t as good as its press releases say it is. But then, on another level, maybe this isn’t such good news. After all, Israelis believe they need to depend on these Americans to survive.
Maybe Israelis would be better off turning to HaShem. Remember, the Creator of the Universe doesn’t have security lapses; plus, He’s no Joe Biden. He’s never been wrong.