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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Understanding Real Israeli Politics

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Photo Credit: Uri Lenz /Flash90

Then there are various centrist good-government style parties that are likely to take votes from Labor and from each other, notably the new party of Yair Lapid, whose father was also a journalist who also started a failed centrist, good-government and secularist party.

As I’ve often remarked, there is no country in the world about which people think they know more and that they actually know less. We often focus on bias but ignorance is equally important.

There are three key factors necessary to understand contemporary Israeli politics.

First, Netanyahu is not seen by the electorate generally as being right-wing and hawkish but as being centrist. He has successfully been developing this posture now for about fifteen years without much of the Western media appearing to notice.

Second, Israelis don’t really see the likelihood that different policies are going to make lots of Arabs and Muslims love Israel, or bring peace with the Palestinians, or end the vilification of Israel by the left. All of those things were tried by means of Israel taking high risks and making big concessions during the 1992-2000 period. Israelis remember, even if others don’t, that this strategy doesn’t work.

Third, there is no other politician who is attractive as an alternative prime minister.

We now know that President Barack Obama’s administration thought that he was going to overturn Netanyahu and bring Livni to power on a platform of giving up a lot more to the Palestinians on the hope that this would bring peace. The editorial pages of American newspapers and alleged experts still advocate this basic strategy. They couldn’t possibly be less connected to reality.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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10 Responses to “Understanding Real Israeli Politics”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Israel's economic policies are indeed outstanding, and Netanyahu has indeed earned re-election. Israel never bought into the low tax no regulation nonsense promoted by most Republicans in the US, and that is why it did not have a banking crisis and its economy continues to grow with low unemployment. I hope that Netanyahu explained this to Mitt Romney.

  2. Although Netanyahu isn't perfect he is the best,and I do believe is the strongest leader in awhile. Although people are burning themselves to be a symbol of the demonstrations.Just think how well Israel would do without all of our enemies security problems,etc. and we still shine in technology as well as medical inventions!

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    Wasn't the person who set himself on fire mentally ill?

  4. I guess anyone who sets himself on fire is mentally disturbed. The first one who did and died did it publicly during a demonstration. The copy cats were definitely disturbed mentally. What can I say this in my

  5. Opinion such extreme measures are not appropriate here!

  6. James Lapin says:

    I seem to remember them lowering taxes under the previous administration and the prev Fin Sec being praised for his astute handling of the economy. And although they just raised taxes, they did NOT raise them for the bottom or TOP brackets.

  7. Toby Stupp says:

    James Lapin They raised the top brakets double what they raised the medium brackets

  8. Don't forget Bibi also lowered taxes twice in this term! Today he was interviewed by our press. He told the truth. He hates having to do this,but it has to be done. Just like Israel's success while other countries shook( big credit to Stanley Fisher) who of course Bibi convinced to come to Israel and learned Hebrew he is number 1! But Israel is not alone and the worlds economy will effect our own,if steps are not taken we will end up like some European countries !

  9. May Bibi live to be 120! Israel and the entire Jewish People need him and his leadership.

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