Elections: Why the Left Vilifies Netanyahu

The left's constant carping and criticism of the past few years and the sordid attempt to close down the pro-Netanyahu newspaper, have now turned into a veritable barrage of unleashed hatred. Why?

Ron Jager

OpEds Ron Jager
Ron Jager
INN:RJ

On the day last week that Israel’s ruling coalition abruptly came to an end, meaning that Israel is heading towards new elections and that Benjamin Netanyahu will be running for a fourth term as the Prime Minister of Israel, all hell broke loose. For the Left it signaled “open season” on Netanyahu.

It’s as if someone sounded the opening shot and the dams burst - filling the airwaves, the newspapers, the websites, the news shows on all the T.V. stations (controlled by the left) with vile irrational hatred of Bibi Netanyahu. No matter what station and at every hour all you could hear was a systematic process of demonization, an unabashed, uncalled-for fanning of flames of hatred for Benjamin Netanyahu.

What has Israel’s Prime Minister done that can explain this lynch atmosphere? What is it that has ushered in this wild, impassionate “kill the beast” atmosphere? How can one explain or even comprehend that politicians and citizens who normally exhibit sensitivity and civility in the public discourse have become so brazen in stating lies, baseless accusations, and general nastiness as they bare their teeth in a frenzy of violent self-righteousness; and why - because they hate Bibi Netanyahu as they once hated and vilified Menachem Begin.

There are deep motives for the hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu. Since the heydays of the Oslo Agreement back in 1993, Israel’s liberal left elite have been infected by a messianic mission to make peace with our Arab neighbors at any price. Israel’s peace movement, supported by the intellectual elite, the media, the courts, began to believe that they can hasten the end of the insoluble conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors by simply forfeiting sovereignty on lands that are essential to Israel’s security, and by forfeiting Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

But even then, back in the autumn of 1993, Netanyahu was the naysayer. The heretic. He combed the countryside much like Johnny Appleseed, from village to village and from town to town, repeating fearlessly, going against the grain, that Israel was intoxicated with a peace fantasy. Netanyahu explained for those willing to listen, that the conflict with our Arab neighbors is more complex than the peace train movement claims. There were issues of Jewish identity, Jewish history and culture, fundamental existential considerations and challenges.

Netanyahu claimed all the way back then that our Arab neighbors had yet accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s right to exist and would continue to weaken Israel, if not by terror, than by delegitimization.

And then the terror struck, daily suicide bombers, the streets of Israel’s major cities became nightmares, thousands killed and wounded. When the peace movement was voted out of power - having yet to return for the past twenty years - they could only blame the messenger of truth, not the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership.


In the upcoming election, no one will talk about peace. This worn-out bill of goods can't be sold again.
The naysayer was to blame and his name is Netanyahu. The hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu responded to their need for an emotional discharge, a kind of false catharsis, enabling the Israeli Left to conveniently forget that the peace fantasies that began in the Oslo Agreement were no more than an illusion, now effectively rejected by the Israeli public.

So in the upcoming election, no one will talk about peace. This worn-out bill of goods can't be sold again.  Only Labor party head Yitzchak Herzog has said that his first step will be to go to Ramallah - and he has not repeated that mistake.

So the alternative will be to rant about justice, inequality, social gaps and the cost of housing. But here, too, although Israel has a way to go on those issues, the Left has a problem. Over the past six years, Netanyahu’s economic reforms have transformed Israel’s socialist economy into a rapidly growing free market, making Israel a global powerhouse in the fields of hi-tech and computer technology, medicine, food and agricultural technology; and the list goes on and on. The standard of living in Israel has risen dramatically during Netanyahu’s watch, and Israel ranks high across the board in comparison to other Western nations.

Netanyahu has explained Israel’s economic success in his own words - "We're just, you know a small niche economy. But what we've done and what we've instituted is essentially turning Israel into a high-tech free market economy. And that is a fundamental change from where we were decades ago."

"We were growing oranges and selling polished diamonds," he elaborated, "and now we're selling the software on chips and we're producing all sorts of innovations, technological innovations. And we've essentially become an export-driven, high-tech economy that has a very open marketplace. Not open enough. That's actually our strategic opportunity for growth. And that's the secret of what you do in an advanced economy and you want to keep it growing after it has reached $30,000 per capita income. That is our situation." 

Despite Netanyahu’s success in promoting Israel’s security and its economic success, we can expect that in the coming months until election day, the people of Israel will in inundated with a non-stop defilement of Benjamin Netanyahu.  To some extent, some of the voting public will be affected by this propaganda and character assassination, but the majority of the Israeli public understands that most of Netanyahu’s policy decisions have been vindicated over the past few years.

After 66 years, the Israeli public supports the idea that Israel as a modern Jewish state must be just that, a Jewish State. The Israeli public has and will in the coming elections continue to confirm this change, that Judaism is the reason for Israel's existence, and the justification of Israel's existence.

Those brought up believing that the secular-liberal “feel-good” Judaism, so common among the Left in Israel as well as in the United States, are unable to fathom the severity of the existential threats facing Israel and instead sense existential meaning in abdicating  Israel’s Jewish identity, are having a tough time with Netanyahu’s possible re-election.

The good news is that a Jewish Israel will continue to be democratic, protecting the human rights of minorities and continue to be a true melting pot for all of the world's Jews. Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria will continue to benefit from the legal and human rights Israel provides them, more so than they have in any Arab nation in the Middle East. Israel will also act and behave morally and unashamedly as a Jewish state. The Lef'ts visceral hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu won’t halt these trends and won't affect him or them.



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