Israeli Election V.3: Netanyahu versus …Netanyahu?
By the time Israelis go to the polls for the third shot at getting it right following two “inconclusives” this past year, there is unlikely to be remaining any clichés, quips, snarky remarks, sarcasms or attempts to find humor in a bleak process – albeit a “first” (second and third…)—that has already cost the Israeli taxpayer billions of shekels and a year during which the treasury would have been better served if the parliament building was rented out as a WeWork. Among (and perhaps atop) the ironies list is the fact that former army chief of staff Benny Gantz, the first man in a decade to stand toe-to-toe with incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, put together a playbook of position papers worthy of Harry Houdini and Uri Geller: telling the public as much about his plans as a magician tells his audience about his illusions. So with the election v.3 boiling down to intuition, up until a week ago the race had, among the tongue-in-cheek echelon been a choice between “Netanyahu” and “I’m NOT Netanyahu.” But amid this craziness where nothing goes, Gantz threw a wrench in the works when he announced that he, like his opponent, will annex the Jordan Valley if elected. But hadn’t that promise been added to the opposition catalogue of “Reasons We Know Netanyahu is Anti-Democratic and Dangerous?” [Note: Gantz’s distinguishing addition of “by negotiation” can be excused to the general’s lack of electoral experience.] Perhaps in some parallel universe, if the PM is not successful, he might still feel vindicated — or at least as though he’s passed the mantel to…himself?….