The biggest loser of the Israeli elections?
The Algemeiner's Arik Elman argues that President Hussein Obama
is going to be the biggest loser in the Israeli elections.
Nobody can predict whether Obama’s intervention will indeed help
Netanyahu or that the centrifugal effect of the Israeli political system
will win over. The proportional structure of the Israeli parliamentary
system does not encourage unity. So long as the voters of the Right
believe that Netanyahu will remain the Prime Minister whomever they vote
for, they feel themselves free to vote for other parties within the
block – Bennett first and foremost. Netanyahu is also struggling against
the decade-old memory of the Israeli public– in 2003, Ariel Sharon
brought Likud to 38 mandates, which grew to 40 after the absorption of
Nathan Sharansky’s “Yisrael B’Aliya,” and a year later he used all this
might to set in motion the “disengagement” plan, which ended in the
uprooting of ten thousand Jews from the Gaza Strip, the creation of
the Hamas enclave on Israel’s Southern border and thousands of rockets
fired at Israeli civilians. Moreover, for the majority of Israelis the
most pressing concerns are economic – Netanyahu himself just recognized
this when in a brilliant but slightly desperate move he appointed Moshe
Kahlon, the hero of the Israeli middle class, the conqueror of the fat
cats of the mobile communications industry, as the Chairman of the
Israeli Lands Authority, and charged him with lowering housing prices.
Nevertheless, Obama’s standing in Israel is so low, that his
disapproval of Netanyahu and his indirect endorsement of Tzipi Livni
(whose standing in the polls went into a free fall immediately after its
publication) may yet help Likud Beitenu. One proof of that can be found
on Naftali Bennett’s Facebook page. Trying to seize the new
opportunity, Bennett cheerfully updated his friends that the White House
is apparently very concerned with his meteoric rise. “We will hear what
America has to say,” – he promised – “but we’ll do what’s best for
Israel.” Obama’s monumental arrogance, his apparent lack of belief in
the intelligence of the Israeli voter, his disgraceful treatment of
Netanyahu and, more than everything else – his disastrous courting of
the Islamist movements throughout the Middle East, has brought American
influence and prestige to a new low in the one place where it was never
considered possible to happen. Any proposed settlement of the
Arab-Israeli conflict requires the Israeli public to have full and
complete trust in the American President. The results of the elections
on January 22nd will show just how much this trust is now absent.
He's got Israelis' views on Obama pegged, but I'm not convinced that Netanyahu is a shoo-in to win, let alone to be the first one offered a chance to form the next government. I'll breath a lot easier when the results are in.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset elections 2013