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Israel’s Bennett Bashers Just Can’t Be Pleased

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
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Naftali Bennett and Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Friday.
Naftali Bennett and Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Friday.Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

It’s hard to please the sourpusses. Even though they did all they could to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, the moment it actually happened they started to attack, insult and offend Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at full speed.

He isn’t saying what they want to hear. He isn’t carrying out their agenda. He’s just an insipid clerk who didn’t achieve anything in his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, which was nothing but one big show.

In fact, he didn’t advance any diplomatic solution to the Palestinian problem, nor did he win any commitment from Biden to go to war on Iran. He could have simply stayed home.

While it’s not always pleasant to give credit, the truth is, dear sourpusses, that Bennett handled the audition in Washington very well.

He created a basis for a warm personal relationship with the president, who told him during their private meeting that he could pick up the phone anytime and for any reason, and during the public meeting added: “We’ve become close friends.” World leaders thus saw an American president doing everything to convey a message of cooperation with and support for Israel, which is critical to strengthening our position in the world.

On the Iranian issue it’s impossible to demand the impossible. The United States will not go to war with Iran, but Biden’s statement that Iran will never have nuclear weapons, and if diplomacy fails, the United States is “ready to turn to other options,” should be welcomed. The reference here is to joint American-Israeli measures to halt Iran.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that Netanyahu is the main culprit in Iran’s rapid progress toward a nuclear bomb. He’s the one who urged Donald Trump to abandon the nuclear deal, which let Iran race ahead without restrictions. Bennett is trying to repair the damage Netanyahu wrought.

The sourpusses also ignore the special budget, $1 billion, that we will receive to improve and restock the inventory for the Iron Dome missile-defense system. The advancing of visa waivers for Israeli tourists doesn’t impress them either. They prefer to talk about the “serious” mistake Bennett made when he said Israel had given 3 million citizens the third coronavirus vaccine while the number was actually “only” 2 million.

They also ignore that Bennett took a big risk when he launched the third shot before final FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, and despite all the intimidation. We’re the only country in the world administering a third dose, a move that will put a brake on the pandemic and allow us to live with the coronavirus without imposing a lockdown. If Netanyahu had launched the third shot, we would be seeing him on television every two days explaining in detail how he performed this miracle.

The sourpusses found other problems with the trip to Washington. They say Bennett’s comments in the Oval Office went on too long. But actually, it was an impressive address that encompassed all the important issues. After all, it isn’t every day that an Israeli prime minister comes to the White House.

The sourpusses also claim that Biden wasn’t focused on Bennett because of the serious terror attack in Afghanistan, but here, too, the opposite is true. Bennett managed to get the president’s full attention for several hours during a major crisis. What’s bad about that?

The kvetches add that Bennett has been firing in all directions trying to find his “base.” After all, he has a tiny party with only six seats. But again, the opposite is true. If Netanyahu had formed a government on a foundation of six seats, he would have been declared the world’s greatest political wizard. But Netanyahu couldn’t form a government with 30 seats.

So maybe Bennett is a bigger political whiz? After all, he’s the one who was dribbling between the two blocs and managed to score the winning goal with only six players.

Yet another myth was shattered Friday. Netanyahu isn’t the only Israeli politician who speaks fluent American English. Bennett does, too. And if there’s one thing that turns you from yet another sweaty Middle Eastern politician into a recognized international leader, it’s a command of English.

Not that the sourpusses are particularly impressed.

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