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Benjamin Netanyahu (CC National Photo Collection)

First to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" This old adage has just caught up with Bibi after he conducted a highly successful diplomatic feat in blocking Iran's plans to establish a military base for threatening Israel from Syria. Netanyahu has gained the backing of both Presidents Trump and Putin. It comes as no surprise that Trump is in Israel's corner, but Putin is a different matter. However, at their recent meeting, the Russian leader told Bibi that he has no objection to Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian military buildup in Syria. Moreover, the Russian ambassador to Israel has reportedly said that Moscow cannot prevent Israel from attacking the Iranians, but on the other hand, neither can it dictate Iran's withdrawal from Syria.

Although Netanyahu has still not found a fail-safe tactic for halting Hamas firebombing from Gaza, this does not pose an existential threat to the Jewish state. However, Iranian forces closing in on the Syrian front is something that Israel will not tolerate. So Bibi was riding high in opinion polls, and if a snap election were called he would likely return as new Prime Minister, despite police investigations on four financial cases.

Suddenly, Bibi has gone too far in domestic politics...

He has committed a major act of folly, possible as the result of a state of hubris (excessive self-confidence and arrogance), like the proverbial Greek tragic hero. Apparently, without considering the fallout, the PM supported the (Nation Bill defining Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people). Whoops, Bibi completely forgot about Israel's loyal and highly respected Druze community that is a tried and tested supporter of the Jewish state numbering some 121,000. The Druze do military service in the IDF, most of them volunteering for combat units (compare this with the vast majority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who refuse to serve at all in the IDF). It is fair to say that every Jewish Israeli will praise their fellow Druze citizens to high heaven as being highly patriotic and living as first-class citizens. However, the new law makes no mention of the Druze, giving most of them the feeling that they are second-class Israelis. This has sparked a firestorm with former Jewish military and political leaders castigating the new Likud law. Over 450 Druze soldiers have been killed in action, and many more wounded. Consider this example: Ehud Barak, a former PM and IDF Cheif of Staff, was furious. In a TV interview, Barak recalled that when serving as Prime Minister, the renowned Sayeret Matkal Commando Unit carried out a daring operation behind enemy lines. He invited them to his office to personally congratulation each of them. When they were introduced Barak was amazed when one of them turned out to be a Druze woman soldier! And a personal comment: when I did my basic training in the IDF, out commanding officer was a Druze.

Realizing his error, the Prime Minister has tried to backtrack by inviting a group of Druze leaders to his office and declaring the nation bill was not intended to slight the Druze in any way.

In short, Bibi has bungled big time. Realizing his error, the Prime Minister has tried to backtrack by inviting a group of Druze leaders to his office and declaring the nation bill was not intended to slight the Druze in any way. In fact, the PM was appointing a top official to resolve any outstanding problems in the Druze community. Bub Bibi's hubris still held sway and he refused to alter even one word in the Bill. On the contrary - the PM accused the left of deliberately fanning the flames for selfish political interests. However, even referred Likud leaders such as former Defense Minister Moshe Arens pulled the rug out from under Bibi by blasting the law for ignoring the Druze community. The issue is still hanging fire while several Druze officers have resigned in protest.

It's not as if the Likud is against recognizing the Druze loyalty to Israel; they simply overlooked it in their frenzy to play to the Likud gallery. Meanwhile, public demonstrations are being planned in protest. Bear in mind that Netanyahu has also aroused widescale opposition to voting down the bill that would have allowed Israeli homosexuals to make use of surrogate mother to give birth to their children. On the other hand, and on a far greater scale, Iranian leaders have also gone way too far after selling former President Barack Obama a bill of goods on their nuclear weapons program. President Rouhani and his boss Ayatolla Hamenai are suffering from a far more serious case of hubris. Since the nuclear deal of 2015, the Iranian public has been expecting that the financial benefits would filter down to them. But, on the contrary, the Iranian economy is sliding from bad to worse. The Islamist leadership has channeled the bonanza of billions of dollars into their subversive campaign against Sunni Arabs around the Middle East. Just go clockwise from Hamas in Gaza, Hizbollah in Lebanon, funding for tens of thousands of foreign fights in the Syrian civil war, and meddling in the Persian Gulf, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Another cause of the rising discontent is the siphoning of public wealth into the hands of the regime's supporters.

In addition, Iran has also invested a bundle in its ballistic missile program and research for restarting its nuclear weapons program when the current freeze runs out, And so, Iranians are taking to the streets chanting, "What about us!" Another cause of the rising discontent is the siphoning of public wealth into the hands of the regime's supporters. Colonialism runs rampant in the economy - those Iranian linked to the regime get the best jobs and the fanatical revolutionary cards actually control much of the economy. This is a recipe for economic disaster, which is reflected in the devaluation of the Iranian Rayil by over 200% in recent months.

President Trump's decision to revoke the nuclear deal and reinforce sanctions on foreign countries that do business with Iran has resulted in the free-fall for the Iranian economy. Bear in mind the US sanctions go into effect on August 6. And what about Trump's offer to meet Rouhani? Don't hold your breath. The White House has reportedly informed Jerusalem that there will be no change in Trump's plans to impose the sanctions or to abrogate what he calls the worst deal in history.

Political Analyst David Essing


David Essing

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