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Letter to the prime minister
Op-ed: Former advisor says Netanyahu's final term offers him opportunity to implement policies without fear

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

 

This is your final term in office. Your close associates are wary of speaking out, so here is some real advice from your former advisor.

 

Personally I value your great contribution very much, but I am also aware of your failures. You justifiably, albeit barely, won the last elections; justifiably, because this is what most of the Israeli public asked for; barely, because along with your election came a warning letter, in red ink, notifying you of the end of the contract. Politics are built on waves – you have been at the top, as well as at the bottom. It seems that you are past your prime. For now it's just a general feeling, though the polls and numbers you like so much back it up, as do the solid voices on the street.

 

Don't get the wrong idea. I am not writing in the name of the "leftists" who want to topple you, and I am not writing on behalf of the "enemies from the press" either. My street is made up of the national camp - your audience. Some of the people on my street are Likud supporters who bowed their heads during the four years in which you proved your ability as a gifted politician. They remained silent, in sadness and in joy, at the sight of a strong prime minister representing them – perhaps too strong. They ignored the lack of criticism and successors. Now they are meddling.

 

Members of the knitted kippah-wearing public, who usually support you, sense that something went wrong. It wasn't the Bar-Ilan speech, as you mistakenly assumed, and it wasn't the construction freeze or Operation Pillar of Defense either. They feel that something went wrong because you hurt them; right in the gut, which is located somewhere in Habayit Hayehudi.

 

Finally, a significant portion of these voices come from people such as myself – who have a national liberal identity; pragmatic centrists and rightists who are close to your economic and diplomatic views; those who considered your long silence in the face of the changes that took place within Likud as a sign that we were losing the home. These voices took some mandates from you in the recent elections, and they are now seeking a different leader.

 

I know the people in your inner circle are not telling you these things. They cannot. They are either afraid or have long since forgotten what it means to be critical Jews. It is not easy to place such a painful, piercing mirror in front of you. Instead they tell you that the public supported Lapid and Bennett because it was convinced you would stay on as prime minister.

 

This is my advice: Take a deep breath and ignore the flattery. The good news is that you're in the best position you have ever been in. You have no choice, no internal conflict and nothing to fear. This is your last term, so the haredim will not be able to take their revenge on you. For the first time as prime minister, you are free to act according to your beliefs and desires; to make changes you believe in. You will be able to put in place a system that will integrate Arabs and ultra-Orthodox in the economy; you will be able to promote competitiveness in the market and advance diplomatic policies according to your worldview.

 

In this term, you are allowed to be you. What's the worst that can happen? Your government will collapse? Don't worry. Once the ministers get their offices they won't rush to topple the government. The best case scenario is that you will be able to leave your mark; for Israel, for history.

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 03.07.13, 11:13
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