Beyond the Cusp

June 5, 2019

Is it Time to Replace Netanyahu?

 

The inability of Bibi Netanyahu to find the right formula to form a government was the result of his own doings. His craving for vengeance costed him a coalition yet much of Israel is resigned to his being Prime Minister despite his vengeful animus which threw away the chance for a solid religious Zionist right wing nationalist coalition. I hear many now demanding to know what we are referencing. Well, it comes down simply as the Bibi demanding that it is good to be the king and he plans on deciding who will be the king now and who will be the king of the future. In case you might be wondering who would be the future king, Bibi of course. Had Bibi not decided just two days before the election to promise everything which the New Right led by Naftali Bennett were using as the base for their campaign, then Likud might have lost two or three mandates and the New Right would have crossed threshold and resulted in a gain of four or more likely five mandates. This would have resulted in Bibi having sixty-three seats even without Avigdor Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu. But Bibi was determined to cause as much humiliation and heaped scorn on Bennett and Shaked for their betrayal of leaving Likud in order to seek more productive support. This has been further represented by Bibi fighting the prevailing mood within Likud to bring Ayelet Shaked into Likud with a high position on their list and a guaranteed Ministerial position. Many, if not most, of Likud members and those who hold positions within Likud desire bringing Ayelet Shaked back into their fold and may even see her as the heir apparent to Bibi. This has been the problem, Bibi does not desire having an heir apparent as he has no desire, despite what has been reported, of ever giving up his spot at the top of the list and as Prime Minister as a result.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

Since Naftali Bennett has made it very clear that he sees himself as the heir apparent and thought that any party he headed would give Likud a run for their money. Instead, he departed Jewish Home in a manner which left a bad taste throughout the party, and made his own party with Shaked as his number two. Initially, it appeared that his new party would receive over ten mandates, though we warned people that leaving Jewish Home for Bennett’s New Right was a mistake as he would be fortunate to clear threshold, he polled lower and lower and on election day did not pass threshold. The new election might breathe some fresh air into Bennett’s New Right Party but that is only if he retains Ayelet Shaked, which is starting to look very iffy as Jewish Home would also take her back, though Bennett is a wholly different matter. The real problem is because Bibi wanted to extract revenge on Naftali Bennett, and secondarily Ayelet Shaked, the New Right crumbled along with the hopes for a true religious Zionist coalition. Of course, Bibi will deny to the day he retires that this was not of his making and will blame Bennett pointing to his departure from Jewish Home as the reason, not Bibi taking the wind out of their sails.

 

Now we are looking at having no real governance until after the middle of September and also risk the left winning the election and getting first chance for putting together a coalition. Fortunately, such will be next to impossible should the Israeli voting public remain true to form. The best they could hope to patch together is possibly fifty-seven mandates, four short of a majority. This is largely due to the left requiring the Arab blocks to join them in order to even come close to reaching a viable coalition. Even should they find a means of incorporating the Arab lists into their coalition, such an unsteady group would fall apart and require new elections within the first four months. But even to make such a coalition, the Arab parties have proven to be difficult to bring on board as they simply refuse to be part of any ruling coalition where they are not the ones given total control. The simply way of stating this is that the Arab parties will make unreasonable demands and once these are met, they will demand more and more and even more. Eventually, one realizes that nothing will ever be sufficient to bring them into the government and thus making it impossible for the left to form a government at this time. That brings us back to forming a working coalition from the right.

 

There actually could be arguments made for choosing a different party leader from the right leaning parties to form a coalition. The difficulty here is that Bibi Netanyahu would refuse to permit the Likud from joining such a venture. Thus, the only means by which this could work would be through the removal of Bibi from leading Likud. Did I hear somebody say, “impossible?” That is why it is a problem. Bibi would tear the Likud Party into pieces taking a large chunk of the party with him in order to allow him to continue as Prime Minister indefinitely. There was a similar problem during the lead-up to the Gaza withdrawal when Arik Sharon was felled by American pressure to cede Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) so they could prove their ability to form a functioning governance and state. Well, within two years the PA lost their grip on Gaza to Hamas and Islamic Jihad (controlled and provisioned by Iran) who have made war on Israel ever since their 2007 takeover. Erik Sharon was unable to convince the majority of the Likud Party to go along with the plan presented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush to permit the PA to rule Gaza unhindered. This caused him to form the Kadima Party which also included many people from leftist parties such as the Labor Party, and resulted in a coalition made up of strange bedfellows. He kept a coalition and gave away Gaza and the rest is history. The promise that Israel could simply reestablish control if things went wrong itself went wrong and now Hamas and Islamic Jihad control Gaza and threaten Israel representing Iran in the process.

 

We would not be surprised if things went awry, that Bibi would form his own party out of the remnants of Likud and whomever he could bring aboard and make a run at a centrist unity government, taking the same path as Arik Sharon. He could include the Blue-White Party, or whatever might be left after they separate from Yair Lapid and he take the most faithful of his Yesh Atid people with him. Add to this a few sprinklings from both extremes including people who decide that this is the best bet for their future. We can only issue them the same warning we gave those leaving to joining Bennett, be very careful where you cast your lot as things tend to lose their luster once revealed to the sunlight.

 

Still, we have three months plus to the September elections in which time much can come to pass. The attempts by Naftali Bennett to bring the religious-Zionist parties together to run with him leading the ticket are doomed to failure. What does he believe he has to offer after his recent defeat? This is his final push to find his path to being Prime Minister. We long ago told friends that all Naftali Bennett was is Yair Lapid with a yarmulke, nothing more. Bennett believes that he is owed the Prime Minister position on any ticket which he joins. He probably left Likud realizing that he was not going to replace Bibi from within. He left Jewish Home because he believed he was their star attraction and as such he could simply make his own party and people would flock to him and Jewish Home would be decimated. Jewish Home was in complete disarray immediately after he left partially because Bennett had refused to seat the new Central Committee and refused to allow the Central Committee to meet for over a year before he split taking the number two and another Minister along with him. Jewish Home (we) rather than collapse found a new leader, and what a great leader he is, and proceeded to form a small coalition with two other parties and broke threshold. As long as Jewish Home can retain the other parties, all looks bright. There is also the possibility that Jewish Home might pick up Zehut and in the process placing Moshe Feiglin within the top ten positions on the party ballot. Such a move would unite the religious-Zionist parties forming a block which could reach the necessary sixty-one mandates along with Likud in September. The problem will not be incorporating the New Right former Jewish Home party members into the coalition as most never officially resigned from Jewish Home and as such are still members in good standing. Those who did renounce their membership will have a more difficult road back, but will still be welcomed and might even return receiving everything they may have formerly held. These past elections were a disaster waiting to happen and Bibi gave that disaster the push it needed to squelch the New Right and their platform bringing their efforts to a premature end. It was a classic case of cutting one’s nose to spite their face.

 

So, is it time to replace Bibi Netanyahu? Even so, it remains improbable that he can be replaced. He has carefully destroyed every person who came even close to presenting him with a challenge. He did so to Moshe Feiglin and most recently to Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and has done similarly to every individual who posed a realistic challenge to his primacy. We have watched this time and again. That presents a huge difficulty in replacing Netanyahu as he controls Likud ruling it with an iron glove on one hand and silk glove on the other. Those who bed their will to his and serve to increase his power get the silk glove and those who rise to challenge him are struck cold by the other glove. This means that there are only two paths to the position of Prime Minister, one with blessings from Bibi and the other as his opposition. Thus far there has not been one who has curried Bibi’s favor to become heir apparent to his rule and perhaps none sufficiently qualified to challenge him from without. Part of the problem is that Bibi completely controls Likud and has not chosen an heir apparent thus leaving only the adversarial method for defeating him. Thus, one must look at the opponents and their likelihood for challenging Bibi.

 

The Blue-White Party with their presumed impressive list of notable people such as Yair Lapid and the four generals has a problem. The problem is that at least three, if not all four, of the generals hold to the position that some form of the Gaza withdrawal mixed with the IDF remaining in southern Lebanon as the solution they back giving the PA another chance at forming a workable society. Their leading candidate, General Benny Ganz initially spoke of how he learned from Gaza and believed if handled differently it could be applied to the settlements with slight adjustments largely consisting of leaving the IDF behind to monitor and prevent terrorism. So, he would pull back to the Security Barrier, very close to the Green Line (see map below), giving the lands beyond to the PA and declaring the conflict over and expecting the Arabs to concur. The IDF would presumably be left in place while all Israeli civilians would be uprooted and forced to find new residence within the remainder of Israel. Their claim that this time it will work is based on their intent on literally forming these borders by fiat and presenting this as the solution to the PA and expecting them to be happy about this. That will fail and do so miserably.

 

Green Line versus Separation Fence Borders

Green Line versus
Separation Fence Borders

 

The problem with this solution is the same as it has been with every solution, that being that as long as any piece of Israel remains with the Jews permitted self-rule, this will be totally unacceptable to the Arab side. The world and far too many Israelis actually honestly believe that when the Arabs refer to their demand that they be given the entirety of the 22% of the mandate, they are not speaking about some piece of land west of the Jordan River, they are talking about all the lands west of the Jordan River. The basic question is that when they chant, From the River to the Sea Palestine must be free,” what does anyone believe that would leave as the Jewish State. The 22% they are demanding has nothing to do with West Bank or Gaza or any other division of the lands, they are referring to the remaining 22% which is not Jordan which took 78% of the British Mandate. The Palestinian Arabs demand for 22% is from the British Mandate and correspond to all the lands set aside for the Jewish state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the River to the Sea. Their demand is for all of Israel and they demand that this land be Judenrein, and should any Jews remain, they have a solution, a final solution. From all we have seen, Bibi has no actionable solution to this overly-extended problem. So, who might be capable of mounting a drive and replacing Bibi?

 

This depends completely and totally upon the people of Israel. There is no lack of people who could replace Bibi Netanyahu and serve as Prime Minister of Israel. The going argument the people backing Bibi always claim is that nobody has the experience of being Prime Minister as does Bibi. That is no wonder as he will soon be the longest serving Prime Minister and is already the longest serving living Prime Minister. By this argument, Bibi can never be replaced which just might inevitably run into a problem, either his retirement voluntarily or forced by Mother Nature. We may as well face facts, the next Prime Minister after Bibi will have far less experience than does Bibi. Everyone upon being elected to lead their nation for the first time has zero job experience, but they figure out what the buttons on their phones mean and find the button for calling meetings or their aid to come take a letter, or e-mail. So, pushing such a weak argument aside as superfluous, let us move on. Yair Lapid consistently claims he is the man with a plan and if only he were Prime Minister, all the Israeli problems would disappear as he can fix everything. Well, first off, please let us not fix anything which is not broken. Simply stated, leave the economy alone unless you plan on reducing taxes. The real problem is that Yair Lapid is one of those who believes that there is a solution which can be reached if only the perfect concession of land were proffered the Arabs. Of course, he does not mean all the Jews moving to California and giving all the lands to the Arabs, so, as we have explained, whatever his proposal, the Arabs will refuse it as not sufficient. The Generals from the Blue-White Party also suffer from the same ailment. Their solution takes the worst of the Gaza disengagement, pulling the Jews from their homes, and combines this with the worst of the disaster of Southern Lebanon where Israel left the IDF in a region she had surrendered any claim which eventually led to a hasty retreat executed by one of the generals (another of the generals was responsible for the Gaza disengagement). So, their solution to the problems with the PA is to combine the Gaza disengagement with the disaster of southern Lebanon and pretend it is something which has a viable chance at success. There is a single saving grace in their plan, Mahmoud Abbas and his terrorists will refuse this as a solution as Israel will not have gone far enough to find a solution, their problem is that Israel remains. This problem only becomes worse as one would go further left, thus any replacement for Bibi is not to be found on the left.

 

This leaves a problem as Bibi has ruled the right for approaching a decade. His Likud Party has cemented the lion’s share in every election only a few times having anything approaching a problem from the left. This means that any real and viable threat to replace Bibi has to come from Likud or a surprise from another of the right leaning parties. As far as somebody rising from within Likud to challenge Bibi, such in the past has proven to be fateful and immediately followed by being placed far down the Likud list thereafter followed by their burial as a viable candidate. Some such people include Moshe Feiglin and Naftali Bennett; both of whom have been relegated to the scrap heap of parties missing threshold. The best Naftali Bennett ever did was actually provide Bibi a challenge but as the election appeared as if it might slide to the left of Likud or Bennett’s party, Jewish Home at the time, received the lion’s share of the right wing votes so one of the two needed to fall on his sword, which Bennett did and that may have proven to be the last time he posed a threat to Bibi. Currently, there is no obvious threat to Bibi though there has been a development very recently which may provide insight of a potential challenger in the near future. The news of Bennett attempting to head a coalition of right wing-religious-Zionist parties was met with an interesting response from the current leader of the United Right and head of Jewish Home, MK Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who stated that joining their block by Naftali Bennett and the remains of his New Right Party would be welcomed but would not result in any alteration of the party hierarchy. Rafi Peretz made one thing clear, as he has come from a quiet retirement where he had no desires to enter politics or the public spotlight, his decision to lead the United Right was a casting of the dice and he will be putting forth the same efforts he has given to everything else he has undertaken. When an individual who was once a combat helicopter pilot, in and of itself an impressive challenge, and going further in the IDF to become a Brigadier General and to be the IDF Chief Rabbi and then becoming head of the Otzem Pre-Military Academy in Yated, which was relocated from Bnei Atzmon after the Gaza disengagement, this is not somebody to take lightly. Once the Israeli public becomes introduced to this man of great talents, his straight talking and meaning what he says and saying what he means, there is a definitive possibility that Rafi Peretz could become the Prime Minister after Bibi and do so while Bibi is still in contention. There are two people currently who could either pose a direct challenge running against Bibi to lead the right of center coalition or becoming heir apparent. The heir apparent would be Ayelet Shaked providing she manages to rejoin Likud and Rafi Peretz under any circumstance as he gains in notoriety and thus popularity. The positive vibes we received from numerous fronts when Rafi Peretz was named as the new leader for Jewish Home was just the tip of the iceberg of the potential for him going forward. Israel would be well served having a man of such integrity and forceful character as Prime Minister and would gain even more due to his politics and love for his country. Time will tell who replaces Bibi and when, but that time is coming and who knows how much longer Bibi can retain his monopoly on the Prime Minister’s spot.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 14, 2019

Israeli Elections Delivered Some Surprises

 

Yes, we know, Bibi again. This probably should not have surprised anybody, but still in the days leading up to the voting we heard the same mantra we hear from Bibi every time starting three to four days before the actual voting, “Vote for Likud or else we will end-up with a leftist government and they will make a Palestinian State. This gets many Israelis into a panic and they get this glazed look in their eyes and all they can seem to say is, we must elect Bibi or else the world will end. We have tried to explain that they do not have to elect Bibi, they need to elect as many right of center parties above threshold such that there are over seventy mandates between all the right-wing parties. But this is not how many, including Bibi, think. They do not remember that not that long ago the leader chosen to form a government was Ariel Sharon of Likud despite their being the second highest number of Mandates simply because the left-leaning party would not have been able to put together a coalition. Further, the Israelis forget that the step which comes after the elections is for each party list leader to provide a name of who they support for Prime Minister and the person most able to cobble together a coalition will receive the most recommendations and get to form a coalition. Were, in this past election, Likud and Bibi to have only received thirty-three mandates but the New Right received five mandates and Zahut received four mandates with the Combined right receiving six mandates (or just five), these extra seats for the other forms of Zionists would have provided, presuming the specialist and other parties remained the same, then the coalition would have reached the dizzying numbers of seventy-three, give or take a couple of mandates.

 

But this was not what Bibi actually desired. He wanted everything for himself without any strong party to his right forcing his hand. Bibi also wanted to push the New Right out of contention as there is bad blood between Bennett, Shaked with Bibi and he was out for some form of revenge. Bibi also knows that his last-minute hyperventilation that the sky was falling took at least one if not two seats from the combined right and pushed Zehut and its founder, Moshe Feiglin, out of contention as there is some history here as well. The other thing is Bibi desires keeping any number of Ministerial positions in addition to Prime Minister in his own pocket. As the last government was coming to a close, Bibi Netanyahu was the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister and three or four other lesser ministries all to himself. We honestly believe that if Bibi were able to get away with such, he would take every position, department, assignment and everything else in the Israeli government to himself fully believing that he was best suited and able for every last position. The only thing preventing his also becoming the Ambassador to the United Nations and ten to twelve of the most important nations having relations with Israel is simply because of the technical problems with being in more than one place at the same time. Were he able to clone himself, he would become the entire Likud and hold the top twenty to thirty slots with his various clones. We can picture the Likud list having Bibi-Aleph, Bibi-Bet, Bibi-Gimmel and so on.

 

The one question we received when trying to explain the reasoning is that it only matters that Likud have a respectable showing somewhere around or over thirty with stronger showings for the rest of the right-wing blocks. The question was to name somebody who would be as capable as Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Previous to these elections the main answer was Naftali Bennett, an answer which many people found lacking. Thanks to Mr. Bennett deciding that the Jewish Home was not going to take him all the way to the Prime Ministership, he split leaving the party in the lurch. Despite the horrific results of losing both the number one and two people from the party list, Jewish Home came up with something which may prove vital in the future, a new leader untainted by political scandals and clean as a whistle, and that is as the man he has become in his life and simply being judged by that and without a care to his politics, which is very strongly Religious-Zionist. This was the man who stepped into the void filling it with what we believe will be a shining light for Israel in the near future. We are referring to the new leader of the Jewish Home, Rafi Peretz. Rafi Peretz has excelled in every position he has challenged, shined as a man of honor and principle and performed every position with competence and dignity. In his early years in the IDF, Peretz was a combat helicopter pilot, a challenge for almost any man. From there he eventually became the Chief Rabbi of the IDF and retired as a Brigadier General. After his IDF service, he founded a Yeshiva in Gaza. When the Gaza disengagement meant that he and his teachers and students would be required to relocate, he took a position of honor over politics and instructed his staff and students that they would leave without causing soldiers any difficulties and leave in an orderly manner with heads high. Rafi Peretz received much grief for not choosing to oppose the disengagement at least with passive resistance, but he was thinking of his students to whom he wished to cause the least amount of trauma.

 

After the disengagement from Gaza, Rafi Peretz reestablished his yeshiva and was still directing this school when tapped to lead Jewish Home through probably one of their greatest challenges. His name was all many people needed to hear which brought many back to Jewish Home and others who were still debating decided to remain as he commands that much respect from those who know him. We cannot claim to have met Rafi Peretz but simply from what people who were not even considering voting for Jewish Home had to say about the man, it was obvious that Rafi Peretz is a man of quality, dignity and straight up honesty. We can only hope that he will remain as the leader of the party, we are members of Jewish Home and never considered joining Bennett and the New Right as it never quite seemed like a good idea to leave the party we chose as it represented our beliefs in virtually every manner. So, for now we have another three and some odd to four years of Bibi Netanyahu and perhaps after one more term he will be ready to retire. Whether Bibi decides that enough has been enough or that he cannot get enough out of being the King, we will be presenting Rafi Peretz as our hope to one day soon take charge as Prime Minister of Israel.

 

It is good to be the King

 

For the moment, Bibi has won, again, and some claim that we will have elections again in six months. We would bet against this, but that is going to depend on many variables. The first variable will be what happens after President Trump finally releases his “Deal of the Century” and the following screaming, shouting, rejections and general animosity. Some are claiming that Bibi will accept whatever deal President Trump presents no matter how much Israel might be required to surrender. We would like to point out that it makes no difference what deal is presented by President Trump and his team of four who were tasked with hammering out something different than the plans which came before. The team consists of United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Kushner’s aide Avi Berkowitz, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, four Jews, which may not have been the brightest idea President Trump ever had. We mean, you are attempting to sell a peace proposal to the Arab world and specifically, the Palestinian Arabs, the ones who have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and you choose four Jews to put the plan together? Really? And better yet, at least two of them are known to be strong Zionist Jews. This works only if your plan is going to be something Israel would have trouble swallowing, so then you could point to the four and ask Bibi what more he could have wanted. But, as you have possibly heard, the plan does not demand that Israel give up half of her land, like that peace plan the United Nations attempted to sell to the Arab League on November 29, 1947 where Israel was to be cut in half, half for the Jews with most of that being the Negev Desert, half for the Arab Palestinians. The Arab League turned it down as they already had a plan for settling with the Jews, their invasion for the morning of Israeli independence when they envisioned eradicating all of Israel. They did try but something went wrong, the Jews fought back and managed, despite losing over ten percent of the entire population of Israel, to survive and hold on to most of their lands. They lost Gaza to Egypt and large parts of Judea and Samaria to Jordan who illegally annexed them renaming it West Bank to avoid the all too Jewish sound of Judea, with Samaria not far behind. The Trump Deal of the Century may be the deal which will break Bibi’s hold on the Prime Minister spot. Thus far he has been beyond the reach of mortal men, the Israeli media and legal problems which always appear to crop up when elections are scheduled. Time will tell, as it does with most everything, and eventually Bibi will retire and Israel will be seeking his successor. Obviously, we have just the man for the job, but we will have to wait and see. One thing we can say, it was a shame that Rafi Peretz was not able to receive much coverage with Jewish Home not organized as many of the key organizers left with Bennett believing they were leaving behind a party about to be thrown on the trash heap of history. It is funny how things turn out, Jewish Home is in the government with four, potentially five mandates and Bennett is wishing and hoping on prayers that he will miraculously worm his way over the threshold; otherwise, he made a very poor bet. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 20, 2019

Israeli Elections Religious Right Merging

 

The two main religious Zionist parties and long-time running mates, Jewish Home and National Union, agreeing that Rabbi Rafi Peretz will head the joint list with Bezalel Smotrich as number two and they settled which party names which slots. This agreement was difficult to arrange and there was a reason which not many are speaking of which made it all the more difficult. The problem was and is Bibi Netanyahu and his claims that he is out there trying to unite the religious Zionist parties and other right wing parties in order for him to easily have a conservative coalition. Every time that Bibi calls for these parties to unite, the more swelled heads become, a common ailment amongst many politicians, and demands become more exaggerated and arguments become more shrill and heated. It almost appears that Bibi is actually attempting to sabotage the right wing parties with his repeated calls for unity. If Bibi is so absolutely enamored with uniting the right wing, religious and Zionist parties in order to allow for a more right wing coalition, then why isn’t Likud out there offering these parties positions on their list and thus guaranteeing that their votes count and they are represented in the coalition. Why doesn’t Bibi form his coalition before the election and present a done deal to the Israeli public, a deal which, if done correctly, would bring in the required sixty-one mandates for seats in the Knesset. Bibi would not even need give the party leaders any of the Likud top five or even ten slots as anything within, say, thirty would be a shoe-in and potentially solid through fifty. But a right-wing-religious-Zionist coalition is not what Bibi is aiming to have.

 

This election is different for Bibi as he is aware that this will very likely be his last ride in the driver’s seat of the Israeli government. Everyone knows what this means. This will be what defines his legacy. The right-wing, nationalist, religious leaning coalitions have not provided that legacy even after nearly a decade as Prime Minister. Bibi Netanyahu desires to be more than simply the longest serving Prime Minister, he wants international fame and the fortunes which go along with such reverence. Bibi wants that he will be the toast of the town wherever he travels and that he and Sarah Netanyahu will be free to travel the Capitals of Europe receiving lavish parties in his honor. Bibi has seen one other Israeli politician receive such honors, and that was Simon Peres, one of the original Oslo Accord schemers. Bibi had a front row seat to witness the embrace received by his mentor and honored figure, Ariel Sharon, who was lauded by Europeans and mainstream American politicians for his bold risk taking after he agreed to gift Gaza to the Palestinian Authority without requesting anything in return so they could prove their ability to form a workable economic and functioning society. The eventual, and many claim inevitable, result was a terrorist state sworn to destroy all of Israel and now backed by Iran.

 

We have already discussed the political positions and other views from General Benjamin “Benny” Gantz, a former longstanding member of the Central Command and including serving as Chief of Staff. There has been talk of a Ganz-Lapid or Lapid-Gantz merged ticket to run together and thus be a force to be reckoned with. The problem was as we stated, who would be at the top of the ticket just in case they were tagged to form a ruling coalition. From all appearances, the General will top that ticket. The two leaders deserve one-another as both of them have, at different times and before various crowds, made statements supporting opposing views and then repudiated them at their next campaign stop. The two are polished performers with Yair Lapid getting his experience at reading a teleprompter from doing the evening news, which also gave him name recognition. General Gantz got his experience on speaking tours in the United States before conservative and reform synagogues where his views were widely applauded. These American Jews are largely leftists and believe that there exists a magic formula which when applied will turn the Arab Palestinians into useful and productive members of a normative society and for that reason support the “Two-State Solution” as the vehicle to peace between Israel and the Arab world. This position has thus become viable and central to General Gantz’s beliefs. Yair Lapid is another who believes that some magic division of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea does in fact exist which would end the animosity shown by the Palestinians. Any coalition which includes these views is not one Israelis should be comfortable allowing having lead their nation. The Two State Solution is a formula for ending the Israeli Arab Palestinian problems as it will bring on the final war between the Palestinians and Israel and there will be only one survivor. The price paid by both sides will be horrific and the cost to the world may be far higher than anyone wishes to accept.

 

The question for the right-wing-religious-Zionist parties is whether or not there will be further mergers. The far-right National-Religious Otzma Party will be avoided largely because of some of their most radical members and videos showing them in acts indefensible in nature such as dancing at a wedding celebrating the death of an Arab child. Then there is the Yahad Party chaired by Eli Yishai. His Sephardi Haredi beliefs appear to have forced him to refuse to be on any ticket which permits women. This is a position he will need to talk back if he expects any offers of a joint list. Jewish Home will most definitely have women as part of their ticket. There will possibly be a united ticket again between Yahad Party and Otzma Party simply for the purpose of guaranteeing their breaking threshold into the Knesset. Any remaining right wing parties will need to find agreements for forming joint lists, the more parties the better, or they face oblivion. But still Bibi is out there on a regular basis making such agreements all the more difficult with his insistence that the right wing parties need to unite in order to receive optimal representation and not waste votes. Furthermore, every time Bibi makes his insistence for the right wing parties to unite, their individual, and thus joint, numbers appear to sink in the polls while Likud gains voters. Bibi Netanyahu is making it appear as if these parties would have been incapable of breaking the threshold of 3.25% of the total votes. One could make a case for Bibi actually pressing the right to merge in order to make such agreements next to impossible while also raising doubts about the viability of the entirety of the right wing outside of Likud.

 

Bibi Netanyahu, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Yair Lapid, General Benny Gantz, Bezalel Smotrich, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Avi Gabbay, Aryeh Deri

Bibi Netanyahu, Rabbi Rafi Peretz,
Yair Lapid, General Benny Gantz, Bezalel Smotrich,
Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Avi Gabbay, Aryeh Deri

 

The above theory would be further excited were Likud to merge lists with Naftali Bennett’s New Right Party, a party looking ever more endangered as their numbers also drop as Bibi calls for unity. Should Lapid and Gantz merge, then Bennett would lose two separate opportunities for his party to merge as well as the ability to play one off the other seeking the best possible deal. Should the end of February approach too quickly, it is reasonable to expect for Bibi to allow Bennett and Shaked to merge their New Right with Likud while making both eat some sautéed crow. Should such an announcement come before the deadline, then the theory that the entirety of the Bennett and Shaked move to Jewish Home years ago was in order to wreck the strongest national-religious right wing party as it was becoming a challenge to Bibi and the Likud. A merger between Likud and the New Right would be as close as one could come to proving conspiracy in order to destroy the religious Zionist community and debilitate these parties immediately before elections. This takes us to a place which every Israeli should dread. What if Bibi Netanyahu plans to make his name by pinning his hopes on making a lasting peace, or at least the appearance of such into a reality? This just might be exactly where Bibi Netanyahu has intended to go but simply had to figure a means of crippling the right wing parties allowing him to choose leftist to virtually all of the main cabinet positions. Gantz has stated that the Gaza model could be used for reaching peace with Mahmoud Abbas and the beauty of the idea is that it does not require Abbas to agree. Gantz claims that Gaza was carried out perfectly and need be applied elsewhere, and there is no doubt of exactly what is meant. Ganz claim is Israel should merely pull back to the terror fence and the IDF should remain in all the areas they currently operate.

 

This plan for the Shomron would be a complete and total disaster. Israel would receive no credit for their leaving the area without first engaging in the forming of an agreement by which Israel receives certain guarantees. This concept should have been stillborn and never permitted to see the light of day. Israel releasing the vast majority of the Shomron to the Palestinian Authority without so much as a handshake in return is Gaza Disengagement on steroids and will result in the same end result. Leaving the IDF behind to interfere with any terrorist plots would result in exactly what devolved in southern Lebanon where IDF forces were routinely ambushed. The other side is exactly how long does anybody believe Mahmoud Abbas will stop Hamas or other Iranian proxy from taking control of the Arab region and demanding the IDF be removed. This idea takes the bad situation where the lands are presumably disputed and turns them into occupied lands protected for the occupying side of Israel. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the polling in Israel tends to be skewed to represent the pollsters’ political positions rather than a true measure of where things stand. Currently, if the averaging of polls can be considered at all accurate, Gantz and his Israel Resilience Party would be the largest block outside of Likud, even more so if they were to merge with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. There are those who would believe that such a joint list would challenge Bibi and Likud for being tapped to form the ruling coalition. This would bring a definitive left-wing face to the government which would very likely charge straight ahead with the formation of a Palestinian Arab state in the Shomron and east-Jerusalem as its capital city. Such a program would denude the Israeli claims to these lands, surrender all the areas from Oslo including Area C and make defending the Jordanian basin impossible turning all these lands into truly occupied territory for as long as the world managed not to demand the retreat from the region so as to truly grant the Arab Palestinians their own nation. Israel might actually get through a full month before the United Nations without being condemned. But what if the more readily likely arrangement were to be formed with Likud merging with Yair Lapid, Gantz and Kulanu along with Yisrael Beiteinu and that could be the next ruling coalition. Such a coalition would favor left-leaning political views and could result in a split in the Likud ranks leaving Bibi with the horrific choice of trying to patch together a coalition just as was done with questionable skirting of political laws. Still such a premature prediction may be jumping the gun. In such an instance, Bibi would gather what he was able to pull in from Likud and managed to extricate from all other parties without requiring Bibi making any concessions. Bibi could at such a point form a left-wing government coalition which intends to end the Arab Israeli Conflict through capitulation to many Arab demands and investing the Palestinian Authority with complete control of the regions west of the security barrier. Israel surrendering all such lands would result in madness as there would be approximately half of a million Jewish refugees which the Arabs would insist be removed or they would eliminate them their way. Such could be the result of the upcoming Israeli elections.

 

We fully understand the desire for a lasting legacy, we simply pray it will not cost Israel or the Jewish People to high a price. Israel has had its pricey legacies built on the backs of our young troops. They have included the Oslo Accords which won three Nobel Peace Prizes and thousands of dead. There was the Gaza Disengagement which will be the lasting legacy remembered for Ariel Sharon, which marred his entire memory. Now we are coming to what will be the legacy of one Bibi Netanyahu, and that is what we are hoping will be less expensive than the previous attempts at a positive legacy. Legacies do not require that the nation whose leader is cementing their legacy to bear any deep cost in treasure, lands or lives. A true legacy is beneficial to the nation and its people without costing them severely. Let us hope that Bibi can find for himself an affordable legacy, one which Israel will be proud about and which will benefit everyone Arab, Israeli and all the remainder of the world will be able to live with and do so in peace. That would be a kinder and gentler style of legacy in which everyone gains and in the end the world finds it less stressful living with Israel. This would be an acceptable and appreciated legacy for Bibi Netanyahu, but still there is the fear that he will desire being the one upon whose efforts peace was actually acquired and nobody needed to be sacrificed. This could lead quickly to bring peace to far reaching shores as well as those close at hand.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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