Kings, an American journalist who recently returned from a tour of several Middle Eastern states told me. Kings, this is what survives in the Arab world. The republican regimes fall, one after another. Look at what happened in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya. Look at what’s happening in Syria. At the oil emirates. On the other hand, the royal regimes are hanging in there. In Saudi Arabia too. In Morocco, the king adapted himself to the new winds and is surviving. Even in Jordan. The present belongs to the kings.
Here too, I said.
Excuse me? He replied.
When you last visited here, Israel was a republic, I said. Now we are a monarchy, and that’s official. Even Time Magazine wrote it. The cover story last week was “King Bibi.”
An amusing headline, he said. I didn’t read it.
A constitutive headline, I corrected him. The news is that Israel is finally integrating into the region. What’s good for the Saudis and for the Abu Dhabis is good for the Jews as well. We are about to crown a king.
Why is that good? He wondered.
For the sake of stability, I said. Netanyahu presented his new, 94-member coalition and explained that Israel’s greatest problem is government stability. He is right: Stability is the most important thing. He hasn’t said it yet, not explicitly, but as you learned during your last visit in Saudi Arabia, nothing is more stable than a king.
On the other hand…he said.
Wait a second with that other hand, I asked. We haven’t exhausted the discussion on the benefits of monarchy. A king does not have to face elections: We already saved two to three billion shekels, if not more. A king doesn’t need a party: There are no central committee meetings. There are no primaries. A king doesn’t need a 30-member government. One Metternich and one Rasputin are enough.
He insisted on guessing. You mean Ehud Barak and, what’s his name, Natan Eshel? He asked.
Among others, I said. Let’s move on: When there’s a king in place, nobody has any qualms with his wife interfering in the affairs of the kingdom. She’s a queen: She’s allowed. The king’s children are princes and are treated accordingly from the day they’re born. His relatives are dukes and counts and are treated respectfully nationwide. His aides are aristocrats.
He can, for example, appoint the brother of his military secretary as the director general of the palace bureau. In a republic this is called a conflict of interests. In a monarchy this is called good service, and nobody complains.
Wait a minute, he said. Isn’t it what’s happening in Israel today?
Not exactly, I said. There are still, here and there, some enclaves that long for the old order. Yet the direction is clear: The people support the monarchy.
You know what, he said. You convinced me. A king is what Israel needs today. A king is not afraid to swim against the current. A king can dare, innovate, make decisions….
It’s the exact opposite, I said. That’s the best thing about kings – they don’t have to make decisions. They are kings because God chose them to be kings. They don’t have to present a plan, formulate a vision, or submit reports. They’re there because they’re there. Since time immemorial and forever.
Sounds good, he said. Can we have something similar in America too?