In a column toting Yair Lapid, Israel’s unnecessary answer to Justin Trudeau, Bari Weiss of the New York Times claimed that she had taken the country’s pulse.
Over a week, I met many voters who say they will cast their ballot on April 9 for the centrists. Why? To a person, the answer boiled down to two words: Not Bibi.
Weiss doesn’t specify where she met these voters, but the setting of her column is North Tel Aviv. Obviously.
I don’t mean to pick on Weiss over this. It’s a common habit of the media and anyone looking to take the pulse of Israel. They talk to the people in the places they’re comfortable hanging out in.
Like North Tel Aviv cafes.
But reporting on election sentiments from North Tel Aviv is like reporting on the 2020 election prospects from Los Angeles or New York City. You certainly will get a lot of people who will tell you how much they hate Trump and would never vote for him. Ditto in North Tel Aviv for Netanyahu. Those encounters are also meaningless. But countless ‘smart’ people have come away from them convinced that Israelis hate Netanyahu.
That’s the Pauline Kael effect of Israeli politics.
To its credit, CNN actually went to Be’er Sheva to try and understand pro-Netanyahu voters.
On our tour of the local market, both sellers and shoppers alike stopped us to tell us “Bibi forever” and “only Bibi.”
As Naftali Cohen, a local retiree, put it, “I have voted Likud all my life. Netanyahu takes care of our security and economy.”
Clutching a Likud campaign poster, Marlene Malachi told us at the rally, “after seeing all the Israeli leaders I can proclaim that Netanyahu is a legend.”
The 73-year-old went on to tell us everything the Prime Minister had done for her town.
“You should look at pictures of Beer Sheva 10 years ago and today — it’s unbelievable what he has achieved,” she said.
It’s a flawed piece full of editorializing, but at least CNN made the effort. Most of the rest of the media didn’t even bother.