Even some of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s closest aides are hinting the boss may be on his way out! With less than two weeks left to cobble together a new cabinet, Bibi’s latest attempt has ended in failure, nor is any other solution in sight. Get this – even his trusted party whip Micky Zohar was recorded saying, “The Likud has no chance of forming the new government.” Moreover, he also quipped, “Likud will know how to be a fighting opposition!” Another Netanyahu sidekick, Finance Minister Israel Katz, has reportedly told his party cronies that he viewed himself as the new Likud leader if Netanyahu steps down.
Until now, Likudniks have stood stalwartly behind Bibi. This political drama is playing out at a time when the country faces a mounting threat posed by the emergence of a nuclear Iran. There is a mounting wave of criticism that after four early elections in just two years, it’s time for Netanyahu to go. This has been augmented by the PM now be tried on three charges linked to bribery.
Is there any doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to Israel’s survival? Under his current circumstances, is Bibi suited to face this threat? In Vienna, US President Joe Biden is bent on reviving Obama’s previous deal with the Ayatollahs who, if you wake them up in their sleep, the first thing they’ll say is “Wipe Israel off the map”! Surely Israel is in dire need of a leader who can focus all his attention on this existential threat and not one who also has to cope with charges that could send him behind bars. Some Israeli commentators have accused the PM of being behind the leaking of anonymous reports that Israeli agents carried out the recent attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. This, in order to boost his personal prestige at this time. In other words, there may be a clash between Netanyahu’s private affairs and his public office.
Who might replace Bibi…?
Two other politicians, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid are now vying for the top job and apparently colluding on Bibi’s departure. Ironically, a small Israeli-Arab party that Netanyahu had courted decided to pull the rug out at the last moment in a crucial Knesset vote. But it would appear that Netanyahu’s political rivals have yet to agree on who should replace him – that’s right, ‘too many chiefs and not enough Indians.’
American financial aid VS. new settlements…
Recently, IsraCast contended that the new political reality, in light of the Biden administration, should rule out any idea of any new settlement building in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). In fact, the settlement issue has evaporated from the public debate since the US Presidential election. It should have been obvious, in light of the Democrats’ victory in Washington, that Israeli settlement building on the West Bank should not be on the agenda. This has been made crystal clear now by a leading Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren declared that she supported military assistance to Israel; however, “If we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all the tools we have at our disposal. One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories.” And, as the proverb tells us, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” By the way, the nearly 4 billion dollars annually that Israel receives is only a smaller part of the total 85 billion dollars that Washington allocates to its allies. For example, over 150 thousand American troops are stations in 70 countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual 85-100 billion dollars annually.
Japan: 27 billion
Germany: 21 billion
South Korea: 15 billion
Italy: 6 billion
This is not only a financial cost, but American troops are defending these countries. How many US military personnel are stationed in Israel? Not one.
To end on a positive note,
Israel has officially declared victory over COVID-19. We can now go outside without wearing our facemasks; they are only required indoors. At long last, all the kids are going back to school after behind kept home for much of the school year. Credit, where credit is due – this, in large measure, is thanks to Bibi.
Things are almost ‘coming up roses.’ All we need now is a functioning government and an answer to Iran’s threat to nuke us off the face of the earth! One final thought – without question, Bibi is in a very tight spot, but he has a razor-sharp mind. Remember how he got on the phone with Pfizer president Albert Bourla and persuaded him to utilize Israel’s sophisticated socialized healthcare system as a huge test case for the Pfizer vaccine? It was a ‘win-win’ deal if there ever was one!