Netanyahu’s Chance of Salvation

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Netanyahu during a conference in Tel Aviv, December 8, 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides he’s had enough and is not willing to waste his life in the Devil’s Island of his Balfour Street residence in Jerusalem, I understand him and wish him success on his new road.

But if this is not the case, and he has even the slightest desire to rule over us for another period of time, I feel obliged to tell him now that he should cease all his ridiculous plots, his shady deceptions and come to the public with this message: As we all know, these elections are a mistake. I fell into them unknowingly or unintentionally. But since we can’t un-ring the bell, I have resolved to transform them from the most unnecessary elections to the most necessary ones. I have decided to turn them into a referendum over the future of the state.

Because such a referendum is a moment of truth, I’m telling you the whole truth: I don’t believe in a two-state solution. I am sure that the Palestinian state is a recipe for disaster. The only choice we have, according to my belief, is to leave the current situation as it is and decide on the conditions that will allow us to live together with the Palestinians in one state, in the spirit of the original Herut movement – with full and equal rights for all. This is the choice we have: two states or one state, and I believe with all my heart that the latter is the less terrible possibility.

If Netanyahu were to ask my advice, I would tell him that he has already lost this unnecessary election, and that in an election that is a public referendum he has a chance of winning. Israel in 2014 mostly reflects the worldview of the right wing, which does not believe that Arabs have a right to this country, and therefore the right wing does not believe in dividing the country. As with Netanyahu himself, disregard for the Arab fate is sweeping. As long as the sword is not right at our throat, as long as the uprising is limited and tolerable, we can continue to go about our business and everyone else can just lump it.

If small-mindedness and shortsightedness were the lot only of ordinary citizens, that would be one thing. The problem is that small-mindedness is also the lot of the prime minister. Netanyahu himself, it turns out, relies on miracles. I believe that ordinary citizens realize this and they don’t like it. It seems to me that this realization, more than any other factor, is what will lead Netanyahu toward his political downfall.

I am convinced that if he still wants to prevent this downfall, he must prove the opposite to the people. He must show the people that he thinks one step ahead. That he is serious, concerned and is setting a goal. That he does not rely on happenstance, miracle or divine providence, and that his entire being is not devoted to remaining in power.

He can do this only if he sharply outlines a vision of the future. He can do it only if, instead of empty calculations and machinations on how to scratch up more Knesset seats, he will think truth and speak truth. In other words, he must transform himself completely.

Luckily for us, the sword is not yet at our throat, but only at his throat. In my humble opinion the sword at Netanyahu’s throat is his chance of salvation. From the national point of view, his moment of truth can also be our moment of truth.