There is one big winner following Tuesday night’s events at the Labor Party,
and it isn’t Ehud Barak,
who managed to overcome the many media outlets that slammed him. I am talking about Benjamin Netanyahu.
There are those who won’t like to hear it, yet before our eyes we see a new Bibi emerging in the wake of the elections. When Tzipi Livni
announced in a hoarse voice, as Dalia Itzik cheered on, that she won the elections, he quietly finalized a deal with Lieberman.
When everyone explained to him that he must agree to a rotation with Livni, he closed a deal with Shas
at a cheaper price than the deal offered to them earlier by Livni.
And when the media condemned him for establishing a narrow government and making a historic mistake by remaining loyal to his natural partners, he closed an important deal with the Labor Party’s Ofer Eini, thereby guaranteeing his government’s legitimacy in Israel and abroad.
We must understand the following: The decision taken Tuesday night by the Labor Party committee is the decision the nation was expecting. The overwhelming majority was hoping for a unity government.
Netanyahu could have established a narrow government within a week. The old Netanyahu may have done it: He would not compromise, not give in, and rush to the president with a limping government; the most important thing would be that he became prime minister.
Yet the new Netanyahu is different. Quietly, out of a sense of responsibility, without talking much, he managed to produce a sane unity government that comprises religious and secular parties, leftists and rightists, who together can save Israel’s economy and maintain Israel’s status in the world.
Barak did the right thing Tuesday night and his party members displayed maturity, yet the real hero is Netanyahu, who I assume watched the results of the Labor vote with great pleasure.
Based on what we learned about Netanyahu’s relationship with the media, we shall see days where Bibi will be harshly criticized for his actions. Yet today we are allowed to admit the following: He started his term his office on the right foot, and more importantly, he proved that he learned quite a bit from past mistakes.