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The Tragedy of Netanyahu’s Victory

Netanyahu pictured in 2015. Image source: Israeli Government via Wikimedia Commons

Netanyahu pictured in 2015. Image source: Israeli Government via Wikimedia Commons

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The election in Israel on April 9 resulted in yet another victory for Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and his right wing Likud party.

Benny Gantz, however, proved competition enough, as the more centrist candidate and his “Cachol Lavan” (blue and white) party were able to tie the number of seats gained in parliament at 35.

Despite being under investigation for his recent accusations of corruption (emphasis on recent, as his first problems with bribery date back as early as 1997), Netanyahu was still able to pull together a victory for his party. The Israeli attorney general has charged him with bribery and breach of trust.

Netanyahu’s victory was most likely bolstered by the President of the United States, who gave him “official” support of some of his policies leading up to the election.

Over the last few months, the U.S. President made several announcements that played into Netanyahu’s hands, such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognizing the Golan Heights as a part of Israel.

In the past, it has been the role of the United States to attempt to appeal to both sides of the conflict in the Middle East. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama did their best to maintain a strong relationship with and support Israel while keeping in mind the concerns of majority Muslim nations in the region, and frowned pretty strongly upon Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank.

All this, with the current U.S. administration, has gone out the window.

I like a Jewish state as much as the next reformed Jew living in the United States, but I really don’t appreciate throwing decades of American policy out on the curb so the president can scratch his buddy “Bibi’s” back. Netanyahu is planning to name a new settlement in the Golan after the U.S. President.

Israelis had a choice between Netanyahu and Gantz, and they chose the more right wing nationalistic approach. This isn’t exclusive to them. Numerous countries have recently fallen victim to such thinking, including the United States and nations in Europe and South America. ”

No, I obviously don’t like Hamas or any other terrorist group/organization/country. No, I am not an anti-Semite. No, I don’t dislike Israel or believe it doesn’t have a right to exist. Jews have a right to a country just like anybody else.

However, I don’t like authoritarian theocracies. Nor do I like decades-old American foreign policy being pushed aside for kicks. I’m also not a fan of lots of killing, whether it be of IDF soldiers or Palestinian civilians.

I know, I know, Israel acts in self defense when necessary and any nation has the right to do that. I also know that terrorist groups bait them into doing so by regularly firing rockets at civilians. Expanded hostility in Israel still doesn’t sit well.

Here at BHS I take Hebrew. The entire class is Jewish, and for the most part the students are quite a bit more religious than myself. Many of them have actually been to Israel and sing its praises as often as they can.

A part of this has to do with the semi-brainwashing effect that Jewish day schools have on their students – myself included. The general message is that everything Israel does is flawless, and the US should bow down. And everything the UN does is antisemitism. My favorite kind of comment is something like “Wow, living in Israel is so much better than in the United States, I can’t believe I’m stuck here.”

My concerns are not just about this election, but more the relationship between America and Israel as a whole. But that is what the election was all about. Israelis had a choice between Netanyahu and Gantz, and they chose the more right wing nationalistic approach. This isn’t exclusive to them. Numerous countries have recently fallen victim to such thinking, including the United States and nations in Europe and South America.

I see everything from the Jewish side of the conversation, which is only half the battle. I hope Netanyahu can continue the economic success that Israel has seen in the past couple years without killing too many people. In the past decades, aggressive policy from Netanyahu has led to aggressive retaliation from Palestinians, and the cycle continues.  

The way it looks now, neither side will stop until one gives up or the other is completely exterminated.

I don’t like it at all.

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The Tragedy of Netanyahu’s Victory