(/sites/default/files/uploads/2015/03/vic.jpg)Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s victory in last week’s Israeli parliamentary elections came in spite of attempts by “outside governments,” especially the Obama administration, to unseat him. The Likud party’s victory and Netanyahu’s personal triumph are based on the Israeli people’s realization that Netanyahu, not Herzog or Livni, has the better leadership skills to guide Israel at this critical time. Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear capacity, and the Arab world is convulsing in a death dance in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. At the same time, the Islamic State (IS), also known in Arabic as Daesh and al-Qaeda affiliates are spreading death and destruction throughout the region. Israel is threatened by these groups on the Golan Heights and the Sinai Desert. Israelis therefore wanted a security conscience leader.
Domestic issues such as the Cost of Living and the unaffordability of housing for young people, which the leftist parties legitimately harped on, were overridden by national security concerns. Throughout the election campaign, polled Israelis preferred Netanyahu over Herzog as Prime Minister. In a sample poll of 690 people, Netanyahu received 48% to Herzog’s 25%. As to the impact of the Obama-Netanyahu tiff on the Israeli election campaign, America matters a great deal, and good relations with Washington counts. At the same time President Obama’s low popularity in Israel and his attempts to remove Netanyahu from office have boomeranged.
Fox-News reported on March 15, 2015, that “a powerful U.S. Senate investigatory committee has launched a bipartisan probe into an American nonprofit’s funding of efforts to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Obama administration’s State Department gave the nonprofit taxpayer-funded grants.”
According to Fox, the Obama administration “has been meddling in the Israeli election on behalf of groups hostile to Netanyahu.” The Fox source intimated that the probe is looking into “funding” by OneVoice Movement – a Washington based group that has received $350,000 in recent State Department grants, and until last November was headed by a veteran diplomat from the Clinton administration. The Israel based Victory 15 campaign used against Netanyahu and the Likud party is a subsidiary of OneVoice, and is guided by top operatives of Obama’s White House, which seeks to replace the government of Israel.
John McLaughlin, a Republican pollster who worked for the Netanyahu campaign, alleged that the V15 group, funded by American taxpayers, “worked to unite the Arab parties into a merged Joint List, and bring out the vote against the Likud party.” McLaughlin added, “The Israelis don’t like the fact that the president (Obama) became really partisan with them. They are used to enjoying good relations with the U.S., whether Republicans or Democrats.” McLaughlin revealed moreover that, “The State Department people at the end of January, early February, expedited visas for Israeli-Arab leaders to come to the U.S. to learn how to vote. They used to be in three different parties that had 11 members in the Knesset…they moved up this time.” There were people in the U.S. that were organizing them to vote in one party so they would help the left-of-center candidate Herzog that the Obama administration favored. Israelis however, favored Netanyahu over Obama.
Those who sought to remove Netanyahu failed to grasp Israel’s ideological and demographic changes. Although the leftist elites in Israel still dominate the media and academia as they do in the U.S., the public is no longer swayed by either. The influx of close to a million Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who endured the repression of the communist regime because of their Jewishness, moved naturally to the right-of-center on the ideological map.
The ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews with high birthrates abhor the secular-libertarian-left that once dominated Israeli politics. Similarly, the Sephardic community resents the leftist Ashkenazi political establishment and admired Menachem Begin’s true love for the Jewish people, Sephardic Jews in particular. This has changed the Israeli-Jewish demography, and created a solid majority for the right-of-center political parties.
Beyond ideology, the failure of the Oslo Accords engineered by the left-of-center Labor Party under Shimon Peres and Itzhak Rabin, made Israelis cynical about the ability to conclude an honest and lasting peace with the Palestinians. The removal of the Jewish communities from Gaza in 2005, and the total Israeli withdrawal from the Strip was the final act that persuaded Israelis of all political shades that prospect for peace at this time is merely wishful thinking. Before leaving Gaza, Israelis handed over their hot-houses filled with tens of thousands of flowers…ready for export, only to be demolished by the Palestinians. Instead of pacifying Gaza with this act of unilateral withdrawal and economic incentives, it became a base for the Hamas terrorists to fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
Israelis recall President Obama’s promise that he has “Israel’s back,” and his assurances to Netanyahu that the “U.S. commitment to Israel is rock solid.” Now however, Obama is forging a deal with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who are committed to Israel’s destruction. A deal that would leave the Iranians with thousands of spinning centrifuges, and a “Sunset Clause,” which would give them an open path to a nuclear bomb in no time…especially given the inadequate inspections framework, and Iran’s long record of deceiving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and U.N. inspectors.
President Obama’s criticism of Netanyahu regarding his comments that “there will be no Palestinian State,” is not only unfair (Netanyahu explained to Andrea Mitchell of NBC the meaning of his comment), it shows a clear bias by Obama. He warned that he will “evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.” The New York Daily News editorial (March 23, 2015) commented on Obama’s warning, stated “Willfully blind to the threats facing Israel, as well as its status as a bastion of democracy and shared values in a landscape of insanity, Obama spoke of muscling Netanyahu.”
Netanyahu’s explanations of his comments were factual and correct. Netanyahu said, “I never changed my speech in Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state. What has changed is the reality. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, refuses to recognize the Jewish state and has made a pact with Hamas that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. And every territory that is vacated in the Middle East is taken up by Islamist forces…We want that to change, so we can realize a vision of real, sustained peace. And I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change.”
Most Israelis agree with Netanyahu’s assertion about establishing a Palestinian state at this time, even many of those who voted against him. In an interview with Maariv (Hebrew) on March 16, 2015, Netanyahu explained “I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state today, and seeks to evacuate Israelis from territory, is giving radical Islam an area from which to attack the State of Israel. This is true reality that has been created in this area in the past few years. Those who ignore that are burying their heads in the sand. The left does this, buries its head in the sand, time and again. We are realists and we understand…” The majority of Israelis understood it too. That is why the Likud and Netanyahu won the 2015 parliamentary elections.
Don’t miss Daniel Greenfield on The Glazov Gang discuss Why Obama is Bullying Israel and Netanyahu:
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