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Hanoch Daum Photo: Rafi Deloya
Hanoch Daum Photo: Rafi Deloya
 
 

Waiting for Bibi’s speech

Hanoch Daum writes open letter to Netanyahu, Likud MKs, Israeli media, and Obama

Hanoch Daum
Published: 06.13.09, 12:10 / Israel Opinion

I believe that nobody within the political establishment sneers at your positions, Mr. Prime Minister. There are those who agree with them and those who object, yet it’s clear to everyone that your way of thinking is first and foremost strategic, broad, and responsible.

 

A moment before the speech is finalized, including the final touches, and a moment before you proceed to deliver it at Bar-Ilan University as the nation watches, please allow me to give you a little advice: Close the door, ask that no calls be transferred, and read the speech again. Read it again, and ask yourself: Does it really present anything new? Is it ground-breaking? Does it include too many reservations, too much balance, and the settling of political scores to the point that there is nothing else left in it?

 

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Likud Knesset Members Danon and Hotovely, greetings. I am the last one to sneer at your protest against the possibility that Netanyahu’s speech will include an endorsement of the two-state vision. You are indeed young Knesset members, who owe much to Netanyahu, but one cannot deny that you represent views that are endorsed by many Likud members.

 

You do not have to blindly follow the prime minister, but try to keep in mind, a moment before the speech, the environment we live in. Try to keep in mind the new constellation that has emerged in the world upon President Obama’s election victory. Keep in mind the need to maintain our ties with the Americans and engage in dialogue with the Arab world in order to isolate the radicals.

 

You have the right to object to the messages to be conveyed by the prime minister, but it is your duty to do so responsibly.

 

And to my media colleagues, greetings as well. Recently I noticed that you’re a little panic-stricken. Let’s admit it, dear journalists: Obama managed to truly make you anxious. The possibility of disagreements with America caused you genuine anxiety. In my opinion, you have trouble falling asleep at night.

 

So here is a secret you seem to have forgotten as of late: The easiest thing for a prime minister, any prime minister, is to ensure good ties with the American administration. In order to do this, the only thing a PM needs to do is to worry about America’s interests. The problem starts when one also seeks to take care of Israel’s interests.

 

Netanyahu’s coalition will not collapse even if on Sunday he says everything that Obama wishes to hear, but is this Netanyahu’s mission? Was he elected prime minister by the citizens of Israel or by the Obama administration? Who does Netanyahu represent in fact? If Israel must fully implement US directives, why do we bother to elect a government here every two and a half years?

 

Dear Mr. Obama, greetings to you too. One thing is clear: You are still in the midst of a campaign. You won the presidency already, but your rhetoric is that of an elections campaign. You do not speak like a person who runs a state, but rather, like his speech-writer.

 

And why shouldn’t you do that? After all, it works. You haven’t proven anything yet, but everyone thinks you’re an excellent president. Your handling of the economic crisis is yet to be examined. Many argue that you are spending too much money. It is also unclear how you’ll be handling the problems in Korea. Thus far, you haven’t done anything that succeeded. Even that prison has not yet been closed down, and the troops in Iraq, well, let’s just say that if you manage to withdraw them within three years of the date you promised, it will be a surprising achievement.

 

However, you have the power. You enjoy immense popularity, probably the kind that only President Kennedy boasted. And that’s ok. Go for it. We’re here just to remind you that when the Palestinians start to disappoint you, with terror attacks and unwillingness to renounce the right of return, and when al-Qaeda will again attack American targets worldwide, and when Islamic radicalization will portray you as a great disappointment – we will still be here for you, the only democratic state in the region.

 

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