Let’s assume for a moment, just for a moment, that tomorrow, in two days, or in a week, Benjamin Netanyahu will be completing his current term as Israel’s prime minister.
Or else, let’s assume for a moment, just for a moment, that the prime minister will be seeking to sum up his first year in office. What will he be bringing along with him to the first year celebration? What will he be presenting to the people of Israel? What will he be saying that will elicit applause and impressed chants from the citizens of this country?
An honest and frank examination of the first year in Netanyahu’s second term as prime minister shows that he has (almost) nothing to “sell” us: A little work in safeguarding the State of Israel’s economy in the face of the global financial crisis (although most of the praise here is due to his term as finance minister.)
But what else? Even his greatest supporters cannot point to any series of achievements. Did I say a series? Not even one!
Netanyahu boasts a monstrous government of 30 ministers and nine deputy ministers, and nothing or almost nothing beyond that. If one cannot finalize a peace deal with the Palestinians or engage in peace talks with the Syrians, then at least we could hope for improvement in the strategic relations with Turkey. But not even that? So maybe we can see a new highway being paved? Or fewer poor people, or fewer ties between government officials and wealthy businesspeople. Or maybe a new major plant? Anything?
At the same junction during late Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s term in office, we were already on the brink of finalizing a peace agreement with Egypt.
At the same junction during late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s term in office we were already engaged in the Oslo Accords, and a little later we had the peace treaty with Jordan, new interchanges, the Cross-Israel Highway, and the new terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport.
At the same junction during late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s term in office we inaugurated the National Water Carrier of Israel, HaMovil HaArtzi.
And what do we have with Netanyahu?