Beyond the Cusp

May 31, 2019

Trump Peace Plan Strikes Israeli Election Dysfunction

 

President Trump had announced his intention to present his much-anticipated peace plan after Ramadan and the Israeli elections. Israel had their elections and the idea was to wait for the end of Ramadan and then let loose the plan. Then there was the hiccup, Israeli elections are requiring a redo. The just completed election provided current and potentially rechosen Prime Minister Netanyahu with sixty Knesset Ministers joining a coalition. The problem is he required half of one-hundred-twenty, plus one equaling sixty-one. The holdout was Avigdor Lieberman with the five Ministers of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party. What makes this turn of events all the more frustrating is that it was Avigdor Lieberman’s pulling out of the last coalition which initiated the slow collapse which was terminated when Likud Party leader, Bibi Netanyahu, finally pulling the plug leading to this past inconclusive election. The telltale lack of a confirmation resulting from the election is that had the Blue-White Party managed to form this coalition with every Minister remaining which Bibi Netanyahu could not land, they too would have a result of sixty, one Minister short as well. All of this begs a question of whether the Israeli system has some difficulties beyond that of other parliamentary systems?

 

The main problem is the requirement to patch together a coalition of half of the total Knesset plus one. Reaching that sixty-one figure is challenging enough in a country which has so many parties which all receive four or more Ministers as each party has some area of disagreement with most of the other parties thus the conflicting demands are difficult to find a workable solution acceptable to all. But there is another difficulty which makes it more difficult for both the left-leaning parties and the right-leaning parties, the Arab parties which have never joined either side in a government and usually garner anywhere between six and fifteen seats. This past election their lists came close to ten Ministers who were never going to join either side. Now the requirement to make a government, instead of sixty-one from one-hundred-twenty, it became finding sixty-one from one-hundred-ten which meant garnering fifty-five plus percent. That might not be such a challenge in countries with two or three main parties needed to form a government. This last Israeli elections, the only combination requiring less than four or more parties would have required the two main adversarial parties to have worked together in a new government, not something which was even remotely likely, though some feared that this might be the means by which the chosen party might decide to form what are laughingly referred to as a unity government, something they truly are not. This past election, any chance of a coalition between the two main adversarial parties was completely impossible. As it was, the larger party which rose to second place was actually three parties merging so as to be capable of defeating Bibi. Even that proved insufficient. Additionally, there was mention of bringing the Arab parties on board a left-leaning government and even going to that extreme would have still only registered sixty providing they could get Lieberman to agree, the problem Bibi was unable to solve.

 

The other item was scheduled to coincide with the new Israeli government being seated and the end of Ramadan on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. This has been pushed off until some point after Tuesday, September 17, 2019 assuming that the next elections prove definitive.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

So, that begs another question, what is the likelihood that the next elections will not simply return more of the same. The ramifications of the last week and the theatrics and everything else the Israeli public witnessed which was being passed off intelligent disagreements over the draft and the numbers of deferments provided the Haredi population so they can pursue Torah scholarship will hopefully be reflected in the voting of the public in September. Unfortunately, much of the Israeli public, just as it is in many other nations, are dedicated to their chosen party election after election. This makes the difference in the totals merely a marginal amount between left and right parties. The two sides do have some fluctuations as to which party takes the lead and the relative strengths of the individual parties. For an extended period, the Labor Party ruled the left but has lost support in recent years. What does not move anywhere near as quickly is the public moving across the center line between right and left. As this takes quite a while for such changes, this is a good time to point out that the Israeli public has been slowly moving to the right, becoming more religious and becoming less concerned with what the Europeans, United Nations and other outside influences think Israel should act. This has resulted in a current near balance between those on the left plus the Arab lists compared to those on the right. If we had to make a concerted guess, we would place the divide at between fifty-five to sixty percent right or right-leaning and the remainder opposed.

 

This often begs the question as to why the right does not simply win outright. The answer is actually one of the most basic and simply reasons for so much of the troubles in world politics, egos. There were two right-wing parties which did not clear threshold. Between them, they cost the right wing somewhere between four and six seats which would have made the five Ministers allied under Avigdor Lieberman unnecessary which would have made him far more agreeable. One did not clear threshold mainly because Bibi Netanyahu cut their support from under them in the final two days before voting partially as revenge for past ills between Bennett and Netanyahu and partly to take the votes and the other party simply refused to merge with other right leaning parties over slight differences and an over-reliance on the polls which gave him false hopes. This will be somewhat different come September as there are now rumors that Bennett will merge his party into Likud, which we will believe when we see the report that the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered to the public. Whether the other rogue right-leaning party will join with the United Right-Wing Parties or remain on his own tilting at windmills remains to be seen. There are also rumblings that the marriage which formed the Blue-White Party may be starting to fray around the middle. Our best guess is that Lieberman and his party might find their gambit backfiring and his party not making threshold or barely getting by losing one seat. Further, Netanyahu and the Likud will very possibly be penalized by the voters costing them as many as four to five seats. These seats will mostly go to either Bennett or to the United Right-Wing Parties. The next Israeli government, without some unforeseen seismic shift in the population, will be a right of center, Zionist and nationalist government with a strong religious flavor. With the shift moving to the supporting parties from Likud, Netanyahu might finally have to find some modesty and no longer act as if the government is his plaything which must do what he demands. This could prove to be an improvement as Bibi will also need to fulfill his nationalist promises about extending Israeli civil law to the settlements, all the settlements, just as he promised. Having an increased religious-Zionist interest possibly rivaling either of the Haredi Parties, this could prove to be most interesting. The only thing left is to wait and see how everything settles out.

 

The new elections will prove revitalizing for the Jewish Home Party which was all but destroyed for the month after Bennett and Shaked left taking one more of their Knesset Ministers with them for the ride and formed his New Right Party. After some arguments, blame setting and finally deciding on the person desired to take the lead, all they had left was to convince their choice that he desired rebuilding the party. The initial answer, if the rumors are correct, told the representatives for the Jewish Home that he had no desire ever, and especially not now, to be in politics, let alone in such a responsible decision. This simply motivated the people within Jewish Home involved with the decision and they approached this gentleman again imploring him to take the challenge as it required a man of his stature and his reputation for honor, honesty, straight shooting, nerve, resolve and most of all for speaking what is in his heart and keeping to his promises as his word is his bond. Some were skeptical that any man could fill the epic hole at the heart of the party. The skeptics were dead wrong, Rabbi and retired IDF General, combat helicopter pilot, and IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz was everything that had been advertised. We here at Beyond the Cusp were amazed at the reactions we ran into when Rabbi Peretz name was mentioned for the first time to people immediately after he finally accepted the challenge. The positivity was actually amazing and now that he will have three and a half months to make speeches and be seen and heard by the average Israelis instead of having to campaign with a mere three and a half weeks to go until Election Day as he was given for the just held election. This will be an interesting election as September approaches as in Israel, elections are made or lost in the final few weeks. More to come as summer’s end nears.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 5, 2019

Unexplainable Joyousness in Israel

 

As Olim who have been in Israel only a few years, we are constantly amazed at how absolutely wonderful and friendly life is. This is even more amazing as we have not learned sufficient Hebrew to actually talk to Israelis such as store clerks or when attempting to make medical appointments and other similar arrangements. Most of the time, if the people we get on the phone do not speak English, they will actually follow through and provide a person to call back who speaks sufficient English to deal with whatever it is we are attempting to accomplish. But that and the fact that, even when there is not an English speaker, they will calmly and politely play charades as we use presumed common gestures to get our message across. This has led to some interesting misunderstandings as you can probably guess. Still, we are making progress in teaching all of Israel English, or at least in our small circle. Yes, there are those who are assisting with our learning Hebrew, but the rest of them will learn English by the time we become proficient in Hebrew. But our experiences are but a small part of the whole. Israel ranks as the thirteenth happiest nation on Earth. That is at least according to the survey which placed Finland as number one and Norway close behind, or as we call them, the frozen chosen. Almost everything we have dealt with thus far has been at least pleasant even if the people at the bank cannot agree amongst themselves how to get things done. This, along with other small aggravations, is largely due to Israel being a rather young nation not yet a century old. But let’s take stock at all the reasons and problems which make Israel appear to be misplaced even making the top one-hundred, let alone thirteenth.

 

Israeli Defense Force at Play on a Beach

Israeli Defense Force at Play on a Beach

 

There are almost innumerable reasons against Israel even ranking on a happiness scale when you take a first look at the news and other coverage of us. Often the first thing that people point to is that Israel is surrounded by nations which wish to kill her down to the last person. They add that these enemies stretch for thousands of miles east and west and a fair distance south with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and then Europe heading north and then west. Turn eastward just north of Turkey and you will soon be in Russia. It is a wonderful neighborhood as long as you remain within our tight little borders. Then there is the fact that Israel is on a war footing 24/7 with threats of war being thrown in our faces regularly. Currently, Hamas is debating whether or not they wish to risk an all-out war with Israel or just to walk that tightrope where Israel does not respond with full-force. Iran is behind the scenes right now encouraging Hamas and Islamic Jihad to press the envelope even if they end up crushed by an Israeli response. Iran is thinking that if they can press the envelope and not quite get an all-out Israeli response, then they may just succeed in making Bibi Netanyahu appear to be weak and thus lose the upcoming elections. What they are apparently unaware of is what the actual result of their efforts are producing. These attacks are overt and obvious in their intent but still they will cause some voters not to vote Likud because they are not responding with sufficient force and much of what their responses have been are seen as farcical. Those who decide not to vote for Likud in order to replace Bibi are not going to vote for any party which is to the left, they are going to vote for one of the two main choices which are more Zionist and to the right. They might decide they want to vote for a party which has a military man who has seen combat and understands how the military function, a general who trained in a combat position for example. Seeking a general one might immediately jump to the Blue-White Party which touts having four generals of which three have been Chief of Staff. That sounds so very impressive until one inspects their military careers and finds that they often were overly cautious to the point of giving an appearance of timidity. One of the four generals in this party is one who might make an excellent Prime Minister except he is not heading the party, the biggest paper pusher of them all is the leader, and we will leave it at that. So, to whom are you intimating?

 

The person we refer to is not known for his military career despite his service being quite exemplary. This general was the head of the Otzem Pre-Military Academy now located in Yated. He established the academy in 1993 in Bnei Atzmon which was within the limits of Gaza. He oversaw their orderly evacuation with passive protests while doing all they were able not to make the IDF soldiers become uncomfortable with their necessary efforts to remove the students. His intent, as best as we are able to ascertain, was to minimize the stress and shock of the events to both his students, who were training to be IDF soldiers, and the IDF soldiers tasked with their removal. To those who have challenged his decision, we can only inquire what they would have had school age children do while remembering that this was already an uncomfortable and potentially scarring set of conditions. He thought of the children in his charge as well as the IDF soldiers, some may have come from the academy, and did what he thought best means of causing them the least chance for any permanent psychological trauma. Rabbi Levi explained about our former general that he did not want to enter politics, “It should be said in his praise that he didn’t want the job and needed to be convinced.” This gentleman was a combat helicopter pilot, so he definitely received combat training and flew whirlybirds, something which takes great skill, dexterity, concentration and stamina. Helicopters are some of the most intricate of the aircraft as some of the controls are counterintuitive in how they are used. I was only trained on a simulator when I trained as a crash-rescue airfield firefighter as we had to pass a simulator test just in case we were required to move a helicopter away from a crash scene or for any other reason. Training for moving fixed-wing aircraft, airplanes, was vastly more simple as those you just roll along the ground and steer them the same as one would a car. Helicopter pilots have my greatest respect for their abilities. Finally, he served as IDF Chief Rabbi for six years, a very select and prestigious position. We are speaking of the quiet strength of Brigadier General (res) Rabbi Rafi Peretz, the newly elected leader of the Jewish Home Party. Confession, we belong to Jewish Home and have since we selected a party when we named the party we preferred so as to be able to vote in primary elections and other party activities. I am also a member of their Central Committee which approved Rabbi Peretz.

 

But there are other reasons why Israel making the top twenty of a list of happiest nations on a list where it initially appears to be a list of the most socialist left-leaning nations favoring Europe is surprising. The fact that the United States ranks at number nineteen, six positions below Israel, is another surprise. Israel is the most sanctioned nation by United Nations resolutions and faces an international movement, the BDS movement, aimed at isolating Israel economically from the rest of the world. The nation consists of largely desert regions yet much of the northern half of the country is green and filled with farmland. Israel has a limited access to fresh water but has made up for the lack of fresh water sources with desalinization plants to augment the water provided largely by the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Israel basically has two seasons, so we are either having rainy weather or the hot and dry weather of our summers. In Israel, we are usually very happy to have rain but by this time of the year, we are becoming anxious for the summer. By the fall, we are really ready for the cooler weather despite the rains, or possibly, because of the rains, which accompany the cooler weather. Regions of Israel receive snow, specifically Mount Hermon where the Israeli ski resorts thrive during the winter months.

 

Skiing on Mount Hermon

Skiing on Mount Hermon

 

As happiness is often thought to reflect wealth, with Israel ranked just over thirtieth in the world proves that money is not everything. Israel ranks thirtieth in a Quality of Life Index. These ratings would lead one to expect Israel to rank similarly for happiness, but we rate far higher than many expect. Much of this has to do with things which are less easily measured. One is that Israel is a rather religious nation and that applies to all the different religions practiced within our borders. We have a wide choice of fresh fruits and vegetables which are largely grown within Israel through some of the most advanced agricultural methods, innovations and scientific developments which include variants of grains, fruits and vegetables which are better adapted to the climate in Israel. The agricultural wonders are only likely to increase as more of the southern Negev Desert is made arable through irrigation and further adaptable plants are developed through cross breeding and other methods. Many of the Israeli innovations, which are shared with developing nations around the world, can be read about with a number of informative videos in this article titled, 12 Ways Israel Feeds the World, an article which contains many interesting facts. The fact that Israel assists many nations from providing special cell towers, which are powered by solar energy and advance batteries for previously isolated villages in Africa to being one of the first nations to arrive to assist after natural and other disasters and almost always the last to leave, to sharing agricultural advances and medical advances, procedures and inventions often at no cost to the nations we assist. Knowing that your nation is actually fulfilling its desired aim of being a light unto the nations gives one pride. Realizing we do this giving freely, even to the same nations which condemn us repeatedly in votes taken at the United Nations General Assembly as well as countless United Nations agencies, we still get no reassuring support. Israel actually does what we would preach we do if we were to go around beating our chests and yelling, we did that. Instead, we arrive quietly and depart quietly always having the people with whom we interacted very happy that we came and lent a hand. Below is CNN news coverage of the earthquake aftermath in Haiti and the second is a special case from Haiti, George, a dancer, had his leg crushed requiring amputation. The Israeli doctors made arrangements for George to go to Israel and be fitted with a very special prosthetic specifically designed allowing him to return to his life’s love and career as a dancer. He is an excellent dancer even with his new leg.

 

The people of Israel are a mix which comes from every corner of the world. We are not a purely European group of Jews who had nowhere to return to after World War II. The Arab world across the Middle East and Northern Africa forced out virtually all of their Jews who were mostly only able to find one nation willing to take them in, Israel. Israel sent aircraft and boats to assist these refugees, over eight-hundred-thousand in all, in returning to their new home in Israel. We will not claim that there were not difficulties as when you almost double the population in a short period of a nation under fifteen years in age, there are difficulties in finding employment, housing and virtually everything one could imagine. In many cases, these Jews were permitted one suitcase each and those were inspected to make sure that they were not leaving with any item of wealth such as money, jewelry, paintings or other such items. The Jews from these Arab nations were just as destitute and quite traumatized just as the survivors of the Holocaust had been when coming to Israel. They also arrived in a nation being threatened by the same world they had just been expelled from and they would see wars as the Arabs attacked Israel in three major wars in barely over her first twenty-five years. Still, the people have a vibrancy and love of life which is infectious. The love and pride in their homeland is also evident and we all agree on one thing, despite any problems, we are home where we will not become victims of the government and be thrown into death camps with an intent on eradicating the Jews. We are in our country and for better or worse, we know we are home, and that is a very wonderful feeling for a people who have been victimized, persecuted and attempted to be eradicated throughout history, and as Jews, we remember our history. Why is Israel so happy? Perhaps it is the air, the people, the great food, the ice cream shops almost every other block, the beaches, the skiing, Jerusalem, the history and the fact that it is home and always has been the home we dreamed in which to live. We cannot explain why, but we can only be surprised that we are not rated higher. Sure much of the world loves to hate us, but at least now our own country will not hate us and mistreat us because it is actually and really our own country finally and at last, after over two-thousand years, we are home.

 

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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