The Day After: Bibi Doing Away with Election Promises
It’s taken less than a month for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scrap at least three election promises. As the Right (Read: not the Likud) staggers into another round of coalition negotiations, we’d all do well to remember just how easy it is for Netanyahu to renege on election promises that he never meant to follow through on. Perhaps, we’d also be wise to do everything in our power to prevent Bibi from forming a coalition. Yes, a Zionist Union government might be worse, but at least those folks have some semblance of decency. Our fearless leader doesn’t.
Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party gained an incredible 30 Knesset seats in the March 15th elections. No one expected him to do this well in a campaign plagued by foreign intervention. The powerful V15 group backed by President Barack Obama invested millions of dollars into unseating Netanyahu. The Israeli statesman used every bit of the negative publicity Obama provided as an outside force–albeit Israel’s closest ally–to his advantage. On the eve of the elections, Netanyahu, troubled by polls that had the Zionist Union slightly ahead of the Likud, promised to scrap the Two-State Solution for lack of a partner on the side of the “Palestinians.” In another move to quiet critics and sway voters from the Jewish Home party, he promised Naftali Bennett the Defense Minister Portfolio in return for unwavering campaign support.
Both promises were done away with as soon as the final polls had closed and Israelis were able to breath a sigh of relief that another Left wing government had failed to unseat Bibi. Not all had been lost and we’d live to see better days–or so it seemed for a few hours at least. But the Israeli electorate woke up to news that Netanyahu’s promise to discontinue his suicidal pursuit of a Two-State “Solution” was more of the empty gesturing we’ve become so accustomed to when it comes to Bibi.
Next in line was the Jewish State Law. Netanyahu, himself the author of the controversial measure, had given in to pressure by the Haredi parties and that the law was no longer being considered. It had been murdered in its infancy because Netanyahu was more keen on maintaining his power than enabling a law that states that the Jewish people are the legal inheritors of the Land of Israel, the Ha’tikva is the national anthem and Hebrew the national language (things that happen to be facts on the ground but that need legal backing nonetheless) to be passed.
And finally, as coalition negotiations unfolded, we learned that our valiant leader hadn’t meant a word he’d said when he swore the coveted Ministry of Defense to his long-time rival, Bennett. Of course this wasn’t true–but how could Bennett, who knows Bibi all too well having worked as his second in command, have bought into Netanyahu’s scheme to build his own party at the cost of the Jewish Home? I doubt Bennett fully trusted Bibi, (Who would?) but now that another election is a thing of the past, we need to pick up where we started and promise ourselves ones and for all to never trust this guy because just like Rabin and Peres before him, he’s a politician and a very sly one at that. If there were ever any doubts if Netanyahu wouldn’t sacrifice his own family to win an election, the truth is in the pudding.