Politics? Politics. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a politician. Once upon a time he was a bad politician and then he became a fairly good one. Politicians work at surviving. They do deeds that are not wonderful and cause them to have a bad press, but ensure them longevity. That's life. It is impossible to walk the political tightrope without juggling. But even from a cynical point of view, it is impossible to understand the targeted assassination carried out this week by the politician Benjamin Netanyahu against Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz and the Plesner committee.
The next election will be determined by the center. Mofaz and Plesner were Netanyahu's entrance ticket to the center. It will be the silent Israeli majority that will determine the identity of the next prime minister. Mofaz and Plesner were Netanyahu's bridgehead to the silent Israeli majority.
When Netanyahu turned his back on Mofaz and Plesner on Tuesday, he not only turned his back on the silent majority of Israelis who work, are productive and serve in the army - he turned his back also on himself. With his own hands, Netanyahu deprived himself of the little credit that the sane center had granted him. With his own hands, Netanyahu advanced the political interests of Shelly Yacimovich, Yair Lapid, Haim Ramon and Tzipi Livni.
Netanyahu shortened his life expectancy as prime minister. He brought closer the time when his family will be forced to pack up its belongings and leave the house on Jerusalem's Balfour Street where it so enjoys living.
History? History. Netanyahu is an ardent history enthusiast. He is hoping to leave his mark on the history of Israel. Netanyahu knows that he will not leave a mark of peace. Even if he adopts Meretz's platform on Tuesday he will not be able to achieve peace in the next few years with any neighbor among those of our neighbors whose Islamic tendencies are growing stronger. So the only imprint that Netanyahu can dream of making is of internal correction. Changing the regime, military service for all, consolidating a unified and just society in Israel.
If Netanyahu makes history, this is the history he will make. If Netanyahu makes history, he will do so only by means of forging a joint path with Mofaz and Plesner to reach a vision of a different Israel.
But nevertheless, even though he understands that, Netanyahu lashes out wildly at Mofaz and Plesner and by so doing, lashes out wildly also at himself. He is nullifying his chance to bring about a dramatic change here. He is erasing his name from the history books of the future. Netanyahu, who loves history, is sentencing himself to extinction with his own hands.
Iran? Iran. Netanyahu assumes that within a short while Israel is likely to face a supreme challenge to its security. Netanyahu considers himself an experienced chess player and feels he is playing the great strategic game over Israel's existence. In certain respects he is correct: A few of his chess moves have been brilliant. However, at the end of the day the final outcome of the game will be determined by the strength of Israeli society:m the internal fortitude, the internal cohesion, the feeling of significance.
The establishment of a national unity government made a considerable contribution toward fortitude, cohesion and a feeling of significance. It greatly improved the political, moral and psychological preparation for what can be expected. Now, however, Netanyahu is smashing the unity government to pieces. With his own hands, he is rending apart and weakening the society which, according to his own assessment, is likely soon to have to make difficult sacrifices. With a clear mind, he is going toward the confrontation with Iran while faltering on the crutches of the ultra-Orthodox and the draft dodgers.
It is impossible to comprehend so foolish an act. It is impossible to forgive an act so reckless. Were Winston Churchill to rise from his grave this week, he would be horrified.
Yohanan Plesner is one of the poster boys of Israeli politics - he has values but he is crafty, he has quality and he is practical, he is a Zionist and he is enlightened. The Plesner committee was a golden opportunity for Israeli politics. Within a very short while it formulated a creative proposal that was aimed at solving a basic problem with which we had never dealt. If indeed Netanyahu buries Plesner like a donkey is buried [outside the gates of Jerusalem] he will also bury himself. Neither history nor politics will forgive him for missing this chance.
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