Reprinted from Gush Shalom
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is our prime minister for life.
So it seems. So he evidently believes.
Not only believes. He acts accordingly. To make sure, he has done the two necessary things: (a) eliminate every possible competitor, and (b) surround himself with male and female nincompoops, no one of whom could be considered by anyone a plausible successor. Indeed, the idea that any of this lot could ever become prime minister sends shudders down our spines.
So we are stuck with him for life (at least). Time to face this prospect.
HE IS not the worst. No one ever is. For every bad leader, there is a worse one. (Except Adolf Hitler, perhaps.)
So let us look first at the positive sides of his rule. There are some. (Yes, indeed.)
No. 1: He is not crazy.
Around the world there are several crazy leaders. We have quite a number of crazies in and out of government. Netanyahu is not one of them.
No. 2: He is not irresponsible.
During the last Gaza war, when all kinds of politicians and other demagogues called for him to do all kinds of irresponsible things, such as re-conquering the Gaza Strip, he refused and followed the advice of the army.
(In Israel, for the time being, the army abhors senseless adventures. The top army officers are, as a rule, much less reckless than the politicians.)
One can ask, of course, how we got into this quagmire in the first place. In fact, Netanyahu fits the old definition: A clever person is somebody who knows how to get out of a bad situation which a wise person would never have got into in the first place.
No. 3: He is an effective orator.
That is not a necessary requirement, of course. David Ben-Gurion was a poor speaker, Levi Eshkol was a lousy one. Both were Demosthenes-like compared to Golda Meir, whose vocabulary in Hebrew and English consisted of about a hundred words, badly accented. That was enough for her to convince any audience.
Netanyahu is an accomplished speaker in the opposite sense. He speaks a good Hebrew, he has a baritone voice, his gestures are appropriate. Indeed, one often gets the impression that he has spent hours in front of a mirror to get the delivery exactly right.