Netanyahu Is Israel’s Prime Minister Again

Netanyahu Is Israel’s Prime Minister Again November 4, 2022

The conservative Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu won Israel’s election for Prime Minister Tuesday to return to his former post as the country’s leader again. The pundits are predicting that Netanyahu will implement an even more right-wing government this time, filled with a cabinet of hawks who will make life even more difficult for Israeli Arabs, who constitute 20% of the nation’s population, and more miserable for most Palestinians, further destroying any chance of ever settling the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One of my favorite journalists and an American Jew, Thomas L. Friedman, writes about it today in The New York Times with an article entitled “The Israel We Knew Is Gone.” He sets the near future political scene in Israel this way:

“Imagine you woke up after the 2024 U.S. presidential election and found that Donald Trump had been re-elected and chose Rudy Giuliani for attorney general, Michael Flynn for defense secretary, Steve Bannon for commerce secretary, evangelical leader James Dobson for education secretary, Proud Boys former leader Enrique Tarrio for homeland security head and Marjorie Taylor Greene for the White House spokeswoman.

‘Impossible,’ you would say. Well, think again.”

Friedman then explains, “The coalition that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu is riding back into power is the Israeli equivalent of the nightmare U.S. cabinet I imagined above. Only it is real — a rowdy alliance of ultra-Orthodox leaders and ultranationalist politicians, including some outright racist, anti-Arab Jewish extremists once deemed completely outside the norms and boundaries of Israeli politics.”

If Friedman is right, and I don’t doubt he is, it will only accentuate anti-Semitism that has recently re-erupted around the world, especially in the U.S. Just think of two prominent African Americans–rapper and songwriter Kanye West and NBA superstar Kyrie Irving–who have made anti-Semitic remarks recently that fuel hate for Jews.

Ever since Israel became reestablished as a nation, in 1948, Diaspora Jews have wrestled with a tension in both supporting the State of Israel yet debating whether Israel fuels anti-Semitism. That latter, of course, can make life more difficult for Diaspora Jews in their predominantly Gentile home nations.

The failure of Israel to allow Palestinians to have their own state–and thereby do as both Torah and Jesus say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19.18; Mark 12.31; cf. Matthew 5.44)–fuels global anti-Semitism. Netanyahu used to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. Then he publicly stated that he would accept a Palestinian state under two conditions: (1) it would accept Israel as a Jewish state, and (2) it would agree to be de-militarized. But it could be argued that Netanyahu has always been resistant to making that happen.

The previous Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, had advocated reopening the peace process with Palestinians with the goal of creating a Palestinian state. Now, that hope is gone. That must be part of what Friedman means by “The Israel We Knew Is Gone.” And unfortunately, with Netanyahu back in power, global anti-Semitism could get worse. Israeli Jews generally think of Netanyahu as the great protector of Israel. But I question that if the peace process remains dead on his watch.

[See Kermit’s book, Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia. Read half of it free, as well as updates of it, at kermitzarley.com.]


Browse Our Archives

Close Ad