The next election is superfluous. Benjamin Netanyahu is the next prime minister. Netanyahu will be elected to a third term with a large majority. Like Vladimir Putin in Russia, who will soon start his third term as president, the same goes for the Israeli Putinyahu. No one will take it away from him.
The poll conducted by Camil Fuchs recently for Haaretz shows 35 to 37 Knesset seats for the Likud. The main opposition party, Kadima, has collapsed. The Labor Party or Yair Lapid are no real threat. Like Putin, Netanyahu will win the election easily. Netanyahu will be the next prime minister despite being a controversial figure: Even his closest associates, such as former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, criticize him harshly. Netanyahu will be prime minister for the third time despite the Natan Eshel harassment affair and the rest of the upheavals within his bureau. Someone who is incapable of calming his own bureau for a few months will run the country for over 10 years.
Netanyahu will be the next prime minister despite his targeted assassination of every peace process or diplomatic initiative, despite that the president of France called him a liar, and despite the tense relations with the president of the United States. He will be elected to a third term despite the broad social protests, which show disgust for all he represents.
This looks like a paradox. What has caused the Israeli public to vote for him time after time, and to prefer him over more truthful and ethical people? What has caused us to place at the head of one of the most challenging and complicated nations in the world a man who we would not buy a used car from?
The secret of Netanyahu's success is in his deficiencies. We vote for him not because of his advantages but because of his disadvantages. The public's love for Netanyahu is a narcissistic love. It is ourselves we see reflected in the muddy puddle, we are identifying with ourselves and we are voting for ourselves.
Netanyahu is a chameleon. He adapts to the colors of his environment. Like Zelig in Woody Allen's movie, he plays the role of many different people at the same time. He is the guardian of the rule of law at the swearing-in of the new Supreme Court president; and a great threat to the rule of law in his actions and those of his coalition. There is the Netanyahu of the Bar-Ilan University speech on a Palestinian state and freezing the settlements, and there is a Netanyahu of "no one to talk to" who will not give up a single inch of land.
The question of who is the real Netanyahu is insignificant. His greatest advantage over all our other politicians is that there is no real Netanyahu at all.
Netanyahu zigzags between fancy language on principles (that we can accept or reject ) and their abandonment in response to political or public pressures. Netanyahu radiates strength, power and steadfastness in his speeches, such as the recent one at the AIPAC convention in Washington. But he is the leader most susceptible to pressure that we have ever had. The Israeli public is in love with this dichotomy too.
Netanyahu plays on our megalomania on one hand and our fears on the other, in a way that no other Israeli politician has ever played. It is no coincidence that he uses the Holocaust frequently. The Holocaust is the ultimate fear, and his hints of a second Holocaust ("The generations that will not come after us" ) define us as the ultimate victims and restore our lost feelings of justice to us. If Iran did not exist, we would have had to invent it.
Alongside cultivating fear, Netanyahu's approach to Iran is characterized by megalomania: The idea that Israel can solve the problem by itself. The idea that it is possible to attack this summer, in opposition to the position of the United States, in opposition to the entire world; with our extremely limited forces and equipment.
Like in matters of the spirit, so it is in the spirit of the people: Alongside dealing with the trauma there is an unconscious desire to return to the trauma. Netanyahu, who warns of a second Holocaust, may lead to it. That is why we vote for him.
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