Yesterday the Israeli public received a surprise as Avigdor Liberman resigned as Foreign Minister and announced that his Yisrael Beytenu Party would sit in the opposition rather than sit in a centrist government which does not represent a strong right wing and nationalist governance. Whether this was a political ploy to try and gain additional positions despite Yisrael Beytenu’s less than overwhelming show in the elections or an attempt to cast himself and his Yisrael Beytenu Party as the real leader willing to stand apart, if that is what is necessary to force a real nationalist coalition with real nationalist goals and directives forming the coalition agreement; Avigdor Liberman may mean exactly what he claims or this may be a restructuring while performing a facelift for what appears to be an ailing Yisrael Beytenu Party. Whatever Avigdor Liberman may have in mind, it remains to be seen whether his prediction of an ill functioning coalition will spend much of its time plugging holes and cracks in the coalition attempting to hold a governing coalition of merely sixty-one Ministers, as slim a majority as one might ever hope to make a working ruling coalition. Avigdor Liberman has struck the heart of the problem and probably knows exactly what he is doing by pointing out that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not only not a proven nationalist but actually a reluctant nationalist. I hope Avigdor Liberman is not expecting to be awarded a Zionist achievement medallion with which he can claim to be the nationalist answer to Benyamin Netanyahu and find himself being chosen to form the next ruling coalition after the next election. But the best bet is that Avigdor Liberman is simply jostling the electorate and rattling everybody’s cage both within the coalition and in the opposition basically claiming he is willing to go it alone rather than enter a coalition which ignores or even opposes what he sees as some of the most vital of nationalist and Zionist principles which he is claiming as the core beliefs of the Yisrael Beytenu Party. Whether this move is just a ploy to gain advantage for his joining of the coalition between now and the deadline this week for forming a coalition remains for us to see.
Whatever the result of the Liberman gambit and the Netanyahu coalition cobbling, the realities are that there may not be an actual Zionist or nationalist leader whose political party is capable of garnering sufficient support to warrant being tapped to form the coalition after the next elections. That begs the question of what is the most likely alternative and how can any alternative to another Netanyahu coalition be formulated as the best possibility for those who might offer a more positive governing coalition leadership. That is where the crux of the problem lies. Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks probably one of the best Zionist and nationalist arguments one could ever imagine but when it comes to putting action to those wonderful sounding worlds it appears that Prime Minister Netanyahu has an application problem which he is unable to get past. The chance that anybody might have come by having the religious Zionists and nationalist camp combine together and promise that if given the necessary representation as a combined group that a new form of government would be installed where the Ministerial department positions would be awarded experts from industry, academia and wherever else they may be found is possibly too much to expect happen by chance. The promise is that the ministers on your party list are intending to be members of the Knesset but not be rewarded with positions for which they have little if any expertise. There would be two completely separate lists of candidates, one would contain close to or over seventy names taken from the several parties and a secondary list of proposed cabinet positions as Ministers of the Cabinet who were chosen for their expertise and not as bribes to patch together a ruling coalition. This would be a fresh new concept where the Prime Minister was not using the myriad of Ministerships which make up his cabinet as rewards for those choosing to join the coalition and instead offer a coalition of parties who have agreed upon a purely Zionist grounds to become part of a new governance where the coalition is formed purely on principles and the Ministers in the Knesset would be responsible for addressing the matters of law and regulations. A few examples might be in order, Foreign Minister could be held by Benyamin Netanyahu where he could use his special powers of persuasion; Professor Stanley Fischer would make an outstanding Minister of the Economics Portfolio as he is unrivaled in his abilities in the field of economics, a military leader such as General Ganz could be charged with Defense Minister and other similar such discerning selections could be made to fill the other Ministerships which would make up the Cabinet Ministries.
The problem with this idea is getting the members of the political class to agree to forgo their egos and simply do what would in the long run be best for Israel. I am sure that every Minister who manages to land some prestigious Cabinet Ministership would feel they are exquisitely qualified to address anything required by the position and they are so brilliant that they would not even gain by the advice of an actual expert. This has usually been most evidenced by those tasked as Minister of Finance, Minister of Defense, Minister of Public Security, Minister of Housing and Construction and we could simply go down the list until we had all of them listed for one reason or another. Part of the problem with the current system is that the separate ministers are also using the power of their particular ministerial position to gain leverage over other Ministers who also can use their ministerial powers to take revenge and in the end the Israeli public pays the price as government ends up being grossly mismanaged. If at the top of the whole government is a Prime Minister who is having difficulties threading the needle while walking a tightrope over a river swarming with crocodiles because he is attempting not to upset the leaders of the rest of the world while keeping a lid on a cabinet filled with egomaniacs all vying to undo the other’s position while ignoring their own responsibilities and still run a nation, well, that is a recipe for a disaster. The biggest problem is the lack of a positive and strongly led group which knows what the end result that is desired and they all can actually agree on that desired result. Such leadership has to be resolute and determined and must be sufficiently sure of their position thus capable of taking command of any situation and continue to move towards that goal while solving every problem actually of any consequence along the way. The problem is there has been no such leader who has come forward and declared such a vision and painted a picture for the Israeli people to also see that vision and be supportive, or at least fifty-five percent voting public behind this vision.
There was such a vision and slogan that could have made that difference when Naftali Bennett hit on the no apology for desires to keep that which belongs to Israel according to International Law. He was on target with this idea and could have built upon this base structure by giving the explanation why we no longer need to say we are sorry for living on our own homeland and we have had enough with the demands for the dividing of our lands, of our Jerusalem, of all that is ours forevermore. But then Naftali Bennett made a cardinal error even if he believed that which he stated when he stated that he was not yet ready to be Prime Minister. Mr. Bennett, let me let you in on a little secret, nobody who is honest with themselves is ever ready to be Prime Minister but that does not mean that they should come out and say so. Once you lost faith in your ability to lead, on that moment your entire no apology campaign apologized and died. The really sorry thing is that honestly we the people of Israel should never forgive you for stealing out opportunity to follow an idea whose time had come and had a vibrant and energetic leader saying what we needed and wanted to hear and then he balked and stole from us our opportunity. Naftali, if I may be so casual, it was not your place to decide if you were ready to be Prime Minister; that decision belonged to us, the Israeli public. If we decided you were ready then it was up to us to give you whatever you needed to lead and do so with vigor and confidence grown by the faith of the people you lead. The secret is that anyone can lead providing they have drawn a clear picture for the future, defined how they plan to take us to that future, tasked the people with their role in this plan and then step forward and let the wave of the supporters assisting and pushing you on ahead as the leader. You see, the people choose a leader and when there is no true and real leader with an idea and a picture they can draw for everyone of what they aim to accomplish and the people agree and ask again for the initial steps they should take that lead to your future and then get ready to run. If as the leader you falter, then the people will have to carry you until you regain your footing; but if we detect that your faith has wavered and the dream has dimmed in your eyes and deserted your hearing, then the people will seek a new leader as you will have left them stuck half way, but the people will live on and find their next leader as that is how it works. Read about Winston Churchill’s life. He was ridiculed and chased from public life, called a warmongering old man who never left the big war. Yet when Hitler was knocking on Britain’s door who did they call? Winston Churchill, and almost as soon as that war ended they unceremoniously punted him from office and into retirement until a few years later they once again needed a leader as they were facing dire problems. Winston Churchill may not have been the leader they needed then, but during World War II there could not have been a better leader than Winston Churchill and the Queen steadied the ship and even joined the crews working in the wreckage that was south London. She assisted in stacking the whole bricks and the broken bricks each according to size and reusability and her assistance did little in the theme of things but few did more. The Queen, Churchill, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) saved Britain to fight another day, and fight on she did. Great times will make great leaders more often than great leaders will make great times.
When the situation is dire and the enemies are closing on all quarters leaving nothing on which to hope than one last charge into the breach, then that is when a great leader is required. Israel is in just such a position. The friend who gave promise after promise barely keeping a one of them but still a friend is all one can hope for when the stormy winds do blow. The winds are blowing and swirling all about Israel yet thus far she has held her ground and not been swept into the mire quite yet. It is just these winds which are blowing everywhere just outside our borders and beyond does not bode well as these items have a way of dragging us down and into the fray. Israel needs a great leader with a cool hand and a mind capable of nimble calculations made on the fly yet critically accurate. The rules for judging human beings and their often emotional outbreaks are not as well defined as a game of chess or checkers. Israel’s main problem lies at a distance but is also being permitted to enrich uranium and plutonium such they will be a virtual nuclear armed nation, whatever that means. United States President Obama may have misspoken when answering a question about Iranian breakout point when he answered that their breakout time would be zero. The media pretended that he had not made any odd or worrisome statement and the interview continued without returning to that question or making any note when summing up the interview. A breakout time of zero means that the Iranians after a decade will have the ability to make an advanced nuclear weapon in as little as six weeks, possibly less. Additionally, should the Houthis in Yemen conquer the entirety of their nation, something which appears to be all but guaranteed, then indirectly Iran will have control over the two most strategic chokepoints for shipping in the world. Additionally, this will add Yemen to the list of nations directly or indirectly which include Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and their foothold in South America in the Tri-Border Region. Iran has ties with the Cuban government as well as loose alliances with the Mexican drug cartels through Hezballah and by whom they gain access into the United States. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are getting rather edgy with Yemen being their immediate concern. The Saudis have even gone so far as to seek a possible alliance which would include Turkey, the wildcard which nobody knows where they will appear but one can bet that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which will make Egypt more than a little edgy as Turkey and especially Recep Tayyip Erdogan have direct and deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. One item which everyone can rely on from Turkey sometime this summer they will again launch the Mavi Marmara on another attempt at breaking the Gaza Embargo blockade. Thus far there is no solid data on how many ships and activists they plan in sending along with the Mavi Marmara on this summer’s little stunt which the leaders of IHH have planned with the finest Islamist blessing from Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As one can see from just this sampling of the realities, pressures, problems, challenges and other calamities waiting for those who choose to desire to lead the state of Israel, it is no wonder that Naftali Bennett and others would think themselves not ready to take on the challenges any Israeli Prime Minister must face even briefly, let alone for four years should he also manage to keep all the disparate groups making up his coalition happy, and this would prove difficult even if one was blessed with a coalition with only three or four parties giving the Prime Minister the comfort of a seemingly stable coalition to oversee. In all honesty, no sane person could ever truly be ready to hold the office of Prime Minister and anybody saying different has not considered the challenges or the threats they would face when holding the position. The Prime Minister would have those detractors who would sit comfortably challenging every decision made by the Prime Minister simply playing devil’s advocate and that are just the media. Even from within his own party the Prime Minister would receive criticisms both from those further to the right and from those further to the left and would soon realize that a Prime Minister can find themselves truly alone even in a meeting of his inner cabinet. Facing these challenges and the other daunting difficulties which every Prime Minister is required to face would chill the nerves of even the best amongst us and would be such that no rational individual would desire such office, yet should the head of even the smallest party claim they are not willing to put their shoulder against the wheel and push it with all their might, then that party needs to choose a new leader who is composed of sterner material. Still, leading a party and potentially having to face the burdens of the office of the Prime Minister would be the challenge of one’s lifetime and truly exhausting taking every last morsel of energy you could give and then demand just that little bit more as the office will force you to give your best effort or it will overwhelm one; so yes Mr. Bennett, you are like every other person who would be facing this before you, but still whether the people desire you to take on that mantle is who decides whether you are ready for such position and you as a party leader do not have the right to take that choice from us, the electorate. That is how the system works and that is what we are left with currently and for the foreseeable future and it is up to us to make this system work and to make changes as we are able and prove to have been capable to meet the challenge just as the electorate chose, the electorate chose and not the party leadership necessarily making such a choice. May the electorate find that leader capable of withstanding the pressures and still stand ready and capable of staring down any external influences who will try to manipulate the leaders of the nation of Israel as, for reasons too perplexing to go into here, the whole rest of the world seems to believe that they are the deciders of what direction Israel must take, yet they are gathered around the Israeli leadership waiting with the patience of vultures desiring to feast on the last remnants of Israel after the world powers have chopped sufficient sections off to grant to any and every claimant against the Jewish nation and then waiting for the last bit to die a very unnatural death. This is why we must have a leader who will stand up and say, ‘no more’ and ‘never again’ and lastly, ‘that which was promised us by man and by a higher power will be ours to cherish and you with your axes desirous of cleaving piece after piece knowing that your angry actions will destroy would kill the victim Israel must know we will not go quietly into that darkness you wish to silence us with, we will not go into the night without a fight, we will win and retain our lands and the Zionist spirit which built her out of the swamps and rocks and boulders and against every challenge we did and will continue to prevail.’
Beyond the Cusp