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CALCULUS OF CURRENT ISRAELI ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Ori Ansbacher (photo credit: courtesy)

"It's security, stupid!"

And how could it be otherwise? Consider the recent, horrific terror attack. Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israel woman, was walking in the outskirts of Jerusalem when she was attacked, raped, and stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank. The DNA of 29-year-old Arafat Arfiya was found at the site, leading to his arrest within 48 hours. Police say he has confessed and reenacted the crime.

While it was yet another of numerous terror attacks, the nature of this rape-murder triggered a rave of disgust and anger. Ori Ansbacher was a beautiful girl not only in appearance but also in character. She had been working as a volunteer assisting disturbed children. On the day of the attack, she had told her friends that she needed some time alone and was going for a walk in the nearby Jerusalem forest - a popular recreation area. Ori simply wanted to commune with nature a little while. Her fate was to meet a Palestinian terrorist who had armed himself with a knife. He had set out to murder a Jew or Jewess. The time and deserted place were perfect - Ori never had a chance. The motive is there, and it is carried out when there is an opportunity.

The attack itself comes amid the current Israeli election campaign and is a factor that Israeli voters obviously must consider when they cast their ballots on April 9.

This is not to say that all or most Palestinians are capable of perpetrating such an atrocity. But the fact is that since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Peace Accord in 1993, many Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza strip certainly are. The is the reality facing Jews in their homeland today, 70 years after the Holocaust. The attack itself comes amid the current Israeli election campaign and is a factor that Israeli voters obviously must consider when they cast their ballots on April 9. Who among the Party leaders will provide the best security for them, their families, and the country? All it takes is for Israel to lose just one war, and the fate or Ori Ansbacher will be staring the Jewish nation in the face.

This stark reality is part and parcel of the bigger picture - Iran's repeated threat to wipe Israel off the map. And this is why Benny Gantz, a former IDF Chief of Staff, is now giving Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu a run for the money in the campaign. Bibi's Likud Party is still leading the pack, but it's early days. A key factor is how Israeli voters will react when Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, decides, as he very likely will, to indict Bibi for financial maleficence. According to Israeli law, a Prime Minister is not obligated to resign in case of an indictment. Although it sounds wacky, Netanyahu could remain in office while at the same time he is hauled into court. Now, consider that most Israelis give Netanyahu a high rating for security and doing a good job in confronting the Iranian nuclear and conventional threats. This could more than compensate for what many Israelis believe are minor infractions when it comes to his financial shenanigans.

Netanyahu has just returned home from the Warsaw conference, convened by the US and also attended by representatives from key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and most of the Gulf states.

Another case in point - give credit where credit is due. Netanyahu has just returned home from the Warsaw conference, convened by the US and also attended by representatives from key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and most of the Gulf states. The topic - how to confront Iran's ongoing campaign to dominate the Middle East. And that includes topping Arab governments.

It is fair to say that this is a milestone in the ongoing and quiet cooperation between Israel and the Arab states in joining forces to confront the common Iranian threat. This new Middle East reality was more apparent than ever in Warsaw. The Arab nations now perceive the Jewish state and its powerful long-range air force, capable of reaching Iran, as a significant component of their defense against Tehran.

Love or hate Netanyahu; he deserves credit for forging what could be an emerging regional defense system - one that has the backing of the US.



Political Analyst David Essing

 



David Essing

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