I also belong to the minority that believes the January 2013 elections have not been decided yet. Netanyahu does not have it in the bag. A senior Likud minister told me this week that there is no connection between the results of the polls and the cold wind that is blowing from the field toward the Likud, and particularly toward Netanyahu. Another senior Likud member said Lieberman may surprise everyone and determine who will be the next prime minister. Netanyahu is undoubtedly the clear favorite, but these elections may turn out to be the most surprising in Israel's history.
Let's assume Netanyahu does win. In this case, for the first time in our history, we will have a three-term prime minister (Bibi first served as prime minister from 1996 until 1999). In total, Netanyahu will have served nearly 12 years as premier. Such figures are rare in democratic countries and are considered a significant achievement even in non-democratic states. So why is it that Netanyahu is still viewed as a frightened, haunted politician who hesitates when he is required to make a decision?
Netanyahu's second term wasn't bad; certainly not as bad as the first one. The country is relatively calm, the economy hasn't collapsed, a number of important bills have been passed, some roads have been laid and railway lines have been built. And yet, this was a very Yitzhak Shamir-esque term, during which the main goal was to survive another day – avoid and delay decisions. Even the success in uniting the world against Iran was mainly the result of public relations, not leadership, and in the end it led to a public feud with our closest ally.
If Netanyahu gets re-elected, he will have the opportunity to let go of the fear and the paranoia and his sick dependence on untrustworthy advisors. King Netanyahu III will be able to act. To do. To reach decisions without fear. Netanyahu will be able to form a coalition to his liking, neutralize sectoral influences and boldly advance diplomatic initiatives if the opportunity to do so arises (as he reportedly tried to do with the Syrians). And, if needed, he will also lead the country in war.
Regardless of whether I support him or not, we've all had enough of Netanyahu the politician, who prefers a good spin over any important maneuver and considers his speeches and Facebook page to be the most important things. If Netanyahu really dreams at night that he is Churchill, then his chance to become such a leader may come in January; a brave and unforgettable leader who will go down in history for the right reasons; a leader who will finally change not only the electoral process, but our entire turbid political system, in which a prime minister is busy mostly with back-room deals and survival.
Such a stable prime minister will not need his own newspaper; he will know how to handle criticism and face reporters who do not worship him; he will not send his aides to sabotage television stations that give him trouble; he will be a prime minister on behalf of the Likud, but he will be everyone's leader – a leader who is almost as great as his speeches.
If Netanyahu does not win, we may have to make due with the second term of one Ehud Olmert, who has already displayed during his first term the courage and decision-making abilities of someone who believes that a prime minister must, even at the risk of making mistakes, believe, act and not be afraid.