Tag Archives: Benjamin Netanyahu

Careful what you wish for, Israel

In the civilized Kingdom from whence I came (up, I was always told), one’s voting preferences were very much a private matter. Indeed, any inquiry as to the identity of the political party for which even a close friend or relative intended to exercise his or her democratic right would have been as welcome as asking them whether their style was more missionary or doggy (currently, I’d take either).

Not so, however, in the jungle I now inhabit. On a par with every Israeli’s entitlement to know how much you forked out or received for your home is his right to be informed as to whether you will be assisting to put in place his government of choice. And not possessing the Briton’s finesse for small talk – NW4’s and 11’s “Who are you eating/davening byyy?”, for familiar instance – the native has no inhibition accosting even a virtual stranger with “Who are you voting for?”

My stock four-letter response these past months, “Bibi”, has raised quite a few eyebrows in my midweek Tel Aviv stomping grounds (though rather fewer in those of the Jerusalem of my long weekends).

Polling day for the 20th Knesset is this Tuesday, but I have taken little or no interest in the campaign . . . a sign, I am sure, of my (still) having one foot out the door, but also of having been relaxed in the knowledge that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would still be in Residence at the top of Rechov Aza when I return, at the start of May (coalition building in the jungle can take a good month and a half), from watching England lose its Test series in the Caribbean.

Yonit LeviBut, getting my thrice-weekly Yonit (right) fix a few evenings ago, I was rudely interrupted by her lead item: it seems that my having taken for granted a Likud victory has been more than a little misplaced, with the centre-left Zionist Union alliance now two or three seats ahead in the polls . . .

Well, I almost spilt my box of Kleenex! The thought of that spineless runt Isaac Herzog – co-leader of the alliance, but who has only been in charge of Labour for 15 months and possesses all the charisma of a lentil seed – running the country is a terrifying one, and a sure sign (if the polls are correct) that many of the natives are losing all reason. Although our late fathers were friends, the sole encounter between their sons left this one somewhat less than enamoured: see Curbing My (Irish) Enthusiasm – in just a few seconds, I had seen the ‘man’ (and my instincts in such matters are generally reliable).

In the interests of even-handedness, the following is the most flattering English-language interview with Herzog I could find . . .

“You wanna know something . . .” Dear, oh dear! Just the drone of those adenoids is enough to make one lose the will to hear. Should Herzog, heaven forfend, become Prime Minister, the ch’nun (nerd) will be exposed to non-stop media scrutiny (and bias), with every non-hearing-impaired person who cares about this country begging for their Bibi back.

Netanyahu is running for his fourth term (third consecutive). It is not difficult to see how familiarity has bred contempt (or merely boredom). And it has become über-trendy to bash him. Of course he could have done some things better. But, if you believe Israel to be “broke” merely because many of its citizens cannot afford to buy apartments in its financial and cultural capital, or that the way to go is to be more conciliatory to the Arabs, then perhaps – like the “idiots” and “lunatics” proscribed by UK legislation – you should not be allowed to vote at all.

So, come Tuesday, I will be voting along “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” lines. Bibi has steered a remarkably steady ship through extremely turbulent waters and years, during which for much of the world – cowed by and cowering before Islamofascism, or influenced by its all-pervading disdain for the Jew – Israel could do no right.

With Islamic State now on our borders and – thanks to that jug-eared nob in the White House – a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, the security situation will get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. And, if Herzog becomes Prime Minister, Hamas and Hizbollah will be laughing all the way to their tunnels. It is not difficult to imagine the next war in Gaza. It is, however, to imagine Isaac Herzog leading us through it.

Changes, as Dovid Bowie once proclaimed (“I still don’t know what I was waiting for . . . and every time I thought I’d got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet”), are not always for the better. And those now pining for Bibi’s demise may, with a limp dick like Herzog in his place, have plenty of time to repent their naivety in having fussed over who owns what in and around Rothschild Boulevard. Bibi and Buji (November 2013)


Whose catastrophe is it anyway?

Driving past the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Sunday evening, I witnessed the kind of scene which, though no longer new to me, never fails to sicken me anew: on this occasion, a demonstration by around a hundred keffiyeh-wearing Israelis to mark Yawm al-Nakba, or Day of the Catastrophe, on which Palestinians mourn the birth of Israel, in 1948.

Last week, meanwhile, on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), this country remembered its 22,867 fallen soldiers and 3,971 victims of Palestinian terror. And immediately following the thought that most of the crusty-leftie protesters looked like they could do with a good bath . . . alright, and the fleeting one, too, of plowing my Focus into the shameless bastards, I couldn’t help but ask myself: “Allah, whose Nakba?!”

I have no inclination to regurgitate here the details of our two Peoples’ claims to this Land. We are, however, two Peoples. And with two claims. And they both have their merits.

But the Palestinian “catastrophe” as I see it, and it predates 1948, is that neither the Palestinians nor their leaders have – conversely to the attitude of the large majority of Israelis towards them – never truly accepted any aspect of the Zionist narrative, or that there is even another party with a legitimate claim to, at least a share of, this Land.

This explains how the ‘moderate’ Palestinian leadership in the West Bank could sign an agreement, two weeks ago, with the Islamofascists in Gaza, the leader of whom had, a mere two days earlier, condemned the killing of Osama “the holy warrior.” And it is why even Israelis (like me) who favour a two-state solution do not believe that the 1967 borders represent the true extent of the vast majority of Palestinians’ claims and aspirations.

The reason that there will never be peace in this Land, therefore, is not our minority of nutters . . . but their majority of them.

Indeed, we Israelis, if we were so inclined, could commemorate our own “catastrophe”: that, in addition to our almost 27,000 fallen soldiers and murdered civilians, we have been cursed with neighbours – Palestinian and Arab – who are, at worst, capable of slaughtering babies in cold blood and, at best, completely backward-looking and incapable of moving on . . . as evidenced by their endlessly self-pitying, all-consuming, fixation with the Nakba and the past.

Israel’s present government has certainly not covered itself in glory: Bibi’s ‘leadership’ has been characterised only by mind-boggling inaction, making the country – at a time when its international image was already at an all-time low – appear completely uninterested in even attempting to resolve this horrible, tragic mess. Indeed, over the last two years, it has almost been as if Israel hasn’t even had a government.

But, even ignoring its appalling crime figures, one only has to roam the streets of Jaffa to witness the Arab aversion to progress: decrepit buildings without communal electricity (cut-off for failure to pay bills) and surrounded by garbage (usually discarded by residents’ children). Then, for contrast, walk a matter of minutes to the beautiful tayelet (beachfront promenade) recently developed by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality through Ajami, one of Jaffa’s most crime-ridden areas.

Of course, the same folk who have always criticised Israel’s supposed neglect of Arab neighbourhoods are now claiming that the tayelet is part of a strategic Judaization, even ethnic cleansing, of them. Though there is no pleasing the Jew/self-hater.

“The Arabs,” Abba Eban famously once said, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” And, whilst some may currently be enjoying a Spring, others – including the Palestinians and their leadership (now, officially, semi-Islamofascist at least) – are still stuck in deepest, darkest Winter.

"Murderers in Uniform," reads the sign at Sunday's demonstration

Blowin’ in the Washington Wind

So, the peace talks are under way. But don’t hold your breath . . .

No one in Israel – not even his inner cabinet, by all accounts – has a clue what Benjamin Netanyahu will offer the Palestinians. Nor about his red lines.

Mahmoud Abbas, on the other hand, has a mandate from his family and herd of goats (there is, it is alleged, some overlap). One thing is for sure, however: nothing he agrees with “Bibi” will be accepted by his delightful Islamofascist brethren in Gaza.

And under the ground rest four more innocents . . . though, such is the demonization of the settler, these days, that Israel’s supposed “cultural elite” probably don’t even regard them as such.

On Monday, the day before the drive-by shooting, 150 left-wing academics, artists and writers – including A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, and David Grossman – signed a petition in support of actors who are refusing to appear in a new cultural centre in the West Bank settlement of Ariel (Haaretz article).

Now, I am not a supporter of the settlements and believe that all but the largest (of which Ariel is one) of them should – and, eventually, will – be evacuated (following, unlike in Gaza, a formal agreement). And I understand the reluctance, on ideological grounds, of left-wing artists to appear in them.

What unites the signatories to this petition, however, is the familiar arrogance of Israel’s left-wing intelligentsia, who consider their opinions of supreme importance in and to the Israeli body politic. This “cultural elite” – the large majority of which populates the swankiest suburbs of north Tel Aviv and believes, no less than the most fanatic of settlers, that it defines what makes a good and moral Zionist/Israeli – thoroughly repulses me. Most of its members, it seems to me, would sell this country and even their own mothers in the name of their perverse, potentially suicidal notions of liberalism. Indeed, for an honest, intuitive and untainted sense of right and wrong, I would sooner turn to the stallholders in the Carmel Market.

Moreover, I cannot help but wonder whether this self-righteous collection of luvvies, professors and general ponces is not responsible for, or has not at least contributed to, making the settler – through said constant demonization – a legitimate target in the eyes of our enemies.

Driving to the settlement of Efrat (in the Etzion bloc, 15 minutes from the scene of Tuesday’s murders) last Friday – on winding, hilly, unlit roads, past Palestinian villages whose donkeys would emerge, without warning, from out of the night – was a most unnerving experience. Indeed, my heart seemed to be racing as fast as the occasional vehicle, with green-on-white (Palestinian) plates, that sped past.

“There have been no drive-by shootings here for years,” my friend’s son attempted to reassure me upon my arrival, as I tried to regain my cool.

A mere four days later, however, that period of quiet was over.

And, regrettably, I hold out little hope for Washington.


Using Yitzhak: The Rabin Trade

Last week witnessed a host of events and ceremonies, across the country, marking the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

An estimated 100,000 attended the main rally on Saturday evening, in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the site of Rabin’s murder (at the hands of Yigal Amir on 4 November 1995). A friend asked me to accompany her. But I refused. I rarely attend such rallies. I tried explaining myself. But, other than telling her what she already knows (that I am contrary), I couldn’t.

The state memorial, on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on Monday, however, reminded me exactly why – because they have been hijacked by too many opportunists and self-publicists, who milk the ‘Rabin brand’ for every drop of benefit it can provide their own agendas and careers.

The main culprit this year (you may not be surprised to hear) was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. With his undistinguished tenure drawing to a close, and embroiled in allegations of corruption, he chose the memorial to show himself as a peace-loving visionary, following in the Oslo footsteps of Rabin.

Olmert has had three years to work on realising his claimed vision – of an Israel back at its 1967 borders, with a divided Jerusalem as its capital – but only now, as a ‘lame duck’, is he espousing it, thus burdening his successor in the Kadimah party (and also perhaps as Prime Minister), Tzipi Livni, with an unreasonable weight of expectation. Whether out of spite (Olmert and Livni are not best pals these days), or in an attempt to go down in history as a visionary rather than a criminal, only he knows.

Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, Livni’s closest rival for the top job, used the special Knesset memorial session following the state one to speak out against incitement. Yes, the very same ‘Bibi’ who took part in right-wing demonstrations – in which Rabin was denounced as a traitor, and portrayed in SS uniform (though Netanyahu distanced himself from both) – just a month before the assassination.

But it is not just Israel’s right that uses Yitzhak. Leftists continually prescribe the correct path for the country based on what Rabin would have wanted. No one knows, however, how things might have turned out were he still with us. Rabin himself went through so many transformations that it is not inconceivable that he might have returned, from the Rabin of the Oslo Accords, to his former hawkish self – as Defence Minister, he was quoted as saying “We will break their [the Palestinians’] bones” – had suicide bombers struck with as much murderous ferocity during his lifetime as they did after his death.

There are also a host of musicians who enjoy the publicity that the Rabin Square rally, in particular, earns them (though once can hardly blame them for accepting such an opportunity). Even if not entirely unsavoury, however, there is very little truly ‘Rabinesque’ about these events either, and I, for one, prefer to stay away.

Left-wing commentator and former politician,Yossi Sarid, put it far more eloquently than I ever could, in this weekend’s Ha’aretz: “Poor Yitzhak Rabin, whose memory was desecrated this week: Who hasn’t ripped off one of his limbs, amputated an arm or a leg of his heritage, and scurried off to his lair to gnaw on it? Suddenly, they were all his sons, all of them are the heirs to his way.”

Voting in Tel Aviv, Doggy Style

Today is local election day across the country.

When Zionists eagerly inform people that the Jewish state is the only true democracy in the region, what they no doubt omit to mention is that it is also one in which others tell you who to vote for, and one in which you can lose a potential partner by voting for the ‘wrong’ party.

“Who are you voting for?” you often get asked by near complete strangers. Suppressing the urge to reply “Mind your own f***ing business” – only close friends or family would ask such a question in the UK – you then get told who you should vote for. If you then have the temerity to challenge the advice, they often (especially if they are on the left) go on to imply how that choice makes you a bad human being (as an exercise for anyone who doubts this, try telling a left-leaning date that you intend to vote for Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] in the national elections, early next year).

Following a recent, extremely encouraging, first date, I was given my marching orders by Natalie, ostensibly (though perhaps not only) on the basis that I wasn’t a left-wing stooge (although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, this outcome has proved ideal, as we have become friends, and I can now mock her unrelentingly, in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if we were an ‘item’).

I haven’t yet decided how I will cast my vote for mayor of Tel Aviv, this evening, though (being the capitalist reactionary that I am) it will probably be for the incumbent of ten years, Ron Huldai, a decorated former fighter pilot. Tel Aviv is a vibrant, flourishing city . . . and, if it ain’t broken, why fix it?

The ‘hip’ vote seems to be going to communist Knesset (parliament) member, Dov Khenin, supporters of whom point to the fact that Tel Aviv is becoming too expensive to live in, thus driving out students and young people. Khenin is advocating the introduction of rental subsidies and caps for such lower income groups, together with the setting aside of cheaper rental accommodation in every new building project. Apart from the fact that I oppose artificial tampering with the market, I don’t see the absence of students living around me as a necessary evil. In fact, since graduating from university, I have done my best to get as far away as possible from the buggers.

As for the election for councillors, I will be voting ‘doggy style’, for the party promising to improve facilities in Tel Aviv for Stuey and Dexxy, and which will hopefully do away with the rapacious, overzealous, ‘doggy police’ jobsworths – just a notch above paedophiles in my book – sending them back down the fetid holes from whence they came.