Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Why doesn't Israel's political/media elite get what it wants?
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a problem. If you believe much of what appears in Israel's media, Netanyahu has lost his credibility. He's become so out-of-touch and so corrupt, the arguments we read say, he's become a danger to Israel (Peter Beaumont, "Israeli president accuses Netanyahu and allies of endangering democracy", guardian, October 23, 2017).
Israel's political/media elite accuses Netanyahu of multiple political sins. For example, Netanyahu won't commit to any two-state solution. He's too friendly to 'settlers'--those Jews who live in the biblical heartland of Israel, Judea-Samaria. He's also corrupt--did you know he's demanded (supposedly) fancy cigars from wealthy friends? Worst of all, his wife screams at workers who clean her house, spends too much money on take-out food--and her (and Netanyahu's) son has been caught acting like a jerk.
My gosh, that's so awful, his political enemies cry. Aren't these reasons enough to replace him?
Israel's elite thinks so.
His views about defending Israel and Israel's rights to Jewish Biblical land are soundly rejected by many in the media. Those views are also rejected by many in Israel's political infrastructure and Israel's civil bureaucracy. All three of these 'institutions' lean more Left than Right, which means they insist that Netanyhau can't be on their team because he won't appease Arab anger and he won't support the elite's own definition of "democracy".
To this elite, Netanyahu is arrogant. He refuses to accept the consensus-of-the-elite. He fails to conform to the elite's Leftist world-view.
This man has a problem. If the surest way for a politician to ruin his reputation is to go against prevailing political beliefs that are embraced by the country's elite, Netanyahu must clearly be destroying himself. Just as surely--if local Israel 'news' is to be believed--the political/media elite is doing its best to push him down that ruinous path.
So if the elite is working so hard to remove Netanyahu, why hasn't it gotten what it wants? Why is Netanyahu still in office?
Certainly, the elite practically owns the media. It controls much of what we read and hear on a daily basis. Why can't the elite get for itself a more compliant Prime Minister?
Netanyahu's still in office for two reasons. First, the majority of Israeli citizens understand that the Palestinian Authority, along with its partner, Hamas, wants to conquer this Jewish state, not make peace with it. For most Israelis, no anti-war/pro-peace sentiment from anyone in Israel is going to alter that fact.
The second fact that keeps Netanyahu in power is related to the first fact: recent history won't go away.
Israelis understand that no amount of elite-inspired appeasing, apologizing or abasement before the UN is going to protect Israel from its enemies. Israeli voters know that surrendering land for peace doesn't bring peace.
Israelis did once accept that concept, with the Gaza disengagement (in 2005). It didn't work.
Netanyahu understands this. Israeli voters understand it. Israel's elite, however, doesn't.
Benjamin Netanyahu isn't out of touch. Israel's elite is. It doesn't understand what the voters here in Israel understand about Palestinian Authority Jew-hate. Instead, it prefers what amounts to some form of appeasement, apologizing or abasement. It acts as if Israel can survive only if it does what an anti-Semitic UN demands. It simply cannot accept that, with Abbas and Hamas spitting Jew-hate at Israel, the only thing we hear from the Palestinian Authority is war and rejection, not peace.
The elite won't get what it wants because it doesn't appreciate the Jewishness of Israel or how 'Jewish' and 'democracy' can indeed coexist--or why the issue of sovereignty in Judea-Samaria is crucial to the Jewish state. Instead, it clings irrationally to a belief that 'democracy' is better than 'Jewish', and surrendering land is more important to Israel than Jewish sovereignty over the land.
Netanyahu remains in power because he understands these issues. The elite, on the other hand, renders itself irrelevant. It doesn't get what it wants because it continues to ask Israel's voters to vote for ideas Israel's voters have already repeatedly rejected.
Israel's elite has the power to make a lot of noise. It has the money to buy a lot of votes. But it doesn't get what it wants because it sells a bad product--a concept of peace-with-Jews that's based on Jew-hate.
Israel's voters know that. So does Netanyahu.