Netanyahu's Comment on Regional Diplomacy Was Only a Passing Flirtation

The prime minister's real home is Habayit Hayehudi, and he doesn’t want to leave it.

Haim Zach / GPO

This time it was quick and clear. You have to admit, elegant. Adult. Responsible even. What’s the point in leading the poor girl on, waiting endlessly in her nightgown for that constantly unfaithful jerk.

What is the point of texting her “Are you awake?” at 2 A.M. and awaking false hope that will only end with her weeping into her pillow? What is the point in making a “tentative” date to meet, only to cancel it again and again? It’s embarrassing and humiliating.

Ask U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has his bags packed and thick handkerchief to wipe the spit off his face, ready to jump at any moment.

The Bar-Ilan speech festival, thank God, will not be repeating itself. There is no freeze; not even half a freeze. There is no meeting; not even a quarter of one. And, thus, there is no need to dig for years into every sentence, highlight words and promises with a marker, look under a magnifying glass at hints in body language, facial expressions.

Did he purse his lips when he said “Abbas”? Did he blink or raise an eyebrow when he let slip “Abu Mazen”? And what did he mean when he said “diplomatic horizon”? Or “new opportunity” and “vision of peace”?

Is “peace” not “peace”? But he said it! He pledged! Right, he said it. Right, he pledged. So what?

Beautiful words and charm can flow like shells in Rafah. Even Lieberman the terrible talks about the Saudi initiative or the Arab initiative, when in normal times – that is, in wartime – his instinct is to confiscate the shops of Arabs who dare to mourn their brethren in Gaza.

So why is the prime minister not allowed, from time to time, to lighten things up with a little foolish utterance? After all, the relationship with Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel is very demanding.

The expropriation of 3,800 dunams (almost 950 acres) of land from Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Na’alin for the purpose of creating territorial contiguity between the settlements of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, with the clear goal of making the Green Line fade away and promoting the dream of annexation, following a year full of construction tenders for thousands of housing units in settlements – all of this is the stuff of a declaration of loyalty. That’s seriousness. That’s commitment. That’s a government at work. And it’s not hard to figure out for whom.

The grandiose plan to attach Gush Etzion to Jerusalem was not born yesterday, or even last week. It might even have been thought up before the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens in the West Bank – the official pretext for the declaration.

But Netanyahu’s statement, a moment after he announced that he had found “elements in the region with which cooperation may be possible” – shows finally that the diplomatic issue was no more than a passing flirtation. His real home is Habayit Hayehudi. He can’t and doesn’t want to leave it. Fairly soon he will officially hand it the reins of government.

And the people who took to the streets three years ago to protest that they have no money to buy a tub of cottage cheese? They continue to wallow in a median income of 6,500 shekels (about $1,800) a month.

The people who are irked by the porcine salaries of high-ranking individuals and demand that Israel Chemicals pay higher royalties to the government, those who will suffer more from the upcoming budget cuts precisely because their economic condition is worse – they will continue to stand silent in the face of the magnificent welfare state that arose through their taxes in Judea and Samaria, but they have no part in it.

As long as they insist, in their foolishness, in living in uninspiring and unimportant cities like Ashkelon, Kiryat Ata and Rishon Letzion, they are fated to hear stories about the free market and the fat man, and spend the last of their salary on services that the state once provided but no longer does. Do you want a welfare state? Go live in the hills. A beautiful city is going to rise there.