Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu was the big winner of the recent Likud primaries. However, he too realizes that the party that sent him to the Prime Minister’s Office is slipping through his fingers. Likud is distancing from him.
However, some politicians will respond to the above with a chuckle. For years they have been saying that Netanyahu has not changed at all, and that Likud is not distancing from him at all. Bibi is just like Moshe Feiglin, with a softer veneer, they say. The primaries’ results will force Netanyahu to rip the mask off his face.
Op-ed: Likud's Moshe Feiglin presents his vision for proud, honorable Jewish State
This is the big question at this time: Has Netanyahu truly moderated his political views in recent years in order to survive, because he realized rightist positions cannot be sold to the world? Or did he merely pretend,when he delivered the Bar-Ilan speech about the two-state solution and held meetings with world leaders, while not changing his views even a bit?
Did Bibi indeed undergo the same process experienced by Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Dan Meridor, Tzipi Livni and others, who realized there is no way to sell Likud’s dreams to the world?
The prime minister realized a long time ago that one cannot deceive the whole world all the time, so over the years he tried to market new goods. Now, with Moshe Feiglin doubling his strength in the Likud primaries, Netanyahu will have to face the cruel choice he aimed to avert for years: Returning to his roots while claiming this is what his voters want, or facing his party members and uttering the following message:
“Dear friends. I tried. You know how much I tried. Yet your dreams cannot be exported. The world does not buy into our ideology, and without the world’s support we simply won’t be able to exist and to live.”
In God we trust?
Netanyahu will then add: “At this time I am responsible for the fate of the whole nation, not only for Likud members, and with all due respect, I haven’t yet found the trick that would prompt Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel to shift to our camp. Feiglin can talk all he wants, but ultimately I’m the responsible adult here.”
In the near future, Netanyahu will try to pretend that Feiglin doesn’t bother him, yet that’s not true: The results of the recent Likud primaries will force Bibi to shift to the Right (unless he was always there in fact and merely attempted to deceive President Obama, King Abdullah and others.)
If the above possibility is indeed what we shall find out – and it looks like it is – our diplomatic and security situation will become much worse. If 80% of Israel’s Jews believe that God exists, we better summon him now; we are going to need Him urgently.