It will soon happen. The future will arrive. In his meeting with Norway’s foreign minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Paris peace conference was “a relic of the past. A last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”
Netanyahu usually sees himself as a historian. Occasionally, he explains to us that it’s not the future waiting for us around the corner but the past.
In Netanyahu’s broken clock, the year is always 1938, and the world powers are trying to sell us to the current oppressor. Fortunately, Netanyahu is preventing a disaster with Churchillian valor, while smoking Cuban cigars and drinking French champagne.
This time, however, it seems that the prime minister has decided to let go of history and give philosophy a try. In his philosophical mood, Netanyahu ponders the relativity of time, how every moment in our lives is a future that has turned into the present and that will turn into the past in a moment. The future, Netanyahu believes, is lurking at the end of every moment in our lives and threatening to turn 1938 into 2017, for example.
Okay, fine, that is probably not what Netanyahu meant. It’s more likely that without mentioning any names, Netanyahu defined the future as “the Trump era.” Donald Trump (the future) will soon arrive, and then what? “We’ll change henceforth the old tradition.” All of Israel’s troubles and Netanyahu’s troubles will be solved. When the reality star sits in the White House, reality as we have known it will be canceled and will be replaced by the vision of the End of Days. Trump will let us build more and more settlements, will give us more and more money, will veto every resolution that has not been approved by Netanyahu beforehand, will appoint his Jewish son-in-law as chairman of the Yesha Council and declare a global war on Islam.
Actually, why dream? The moments before reality’s arrival—the real future, not the imaginary one—are the most optimistic moments. You have just been elected, for example. Anything is possible. You will change and fix and succeed. A moment later, your schedule is filled with Coalition Chairman David Bitan, Knesset Member Dudi Amsalem, Minister Yisrael Katz and police investigators.
The truth is that the future in the Trump era will likely not be as bright as Netanyahu expects, simply because there is no way of knowing what the man, who is about to be sworn in as the US president, will do. Today he can be more Zionist than Netanyahu, and tomorrow? Who knows. If there is something we can learn from Trump’s past, it’s that it all depends on what side of the bed he woke up on. If he woke up on the right side, he is the future. If he woke up on the left side, he is the past.
For a moment, let’s put aside the question of Trump’s opinions and whether he has any. The world’s strongest power will be headed by an irresponsible person, a megalomaniac narcissist with radical impatience, who does not read books, whose imagery and knowledge are taken from reality shows. And if that were not enough, Donald Trump is going to be the first president who owes nothing to anyone. He doesn’t owe a thing to the Republican Party. He doesn’t owe a thing to businesspeople. He doesn’t even owe his electorate. Why, he even won the support of one-third of the Hispanics, for example, despite treating them in a racist and scornful manner.
A person who doesn’t owe anything to anyone, a person who has crossed all lines of polite rhetoric and who has not paid a price for it, a person who doesn’t listen to advice and is certain of his ability to succeed without it—that is a dangerous person. Trump is an unexpected person with a simplistic world view, who has surrounded himself with worthless advisors. Are you sure that’s a good thing? Doesn’t that scare you just a bit? Aren’t you afraid that the United States’ policy will be based on the whims of a not so consistent and stable person?
Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett are not afraid. If Trump supports the settlements, Trump is our messiah. Hallelujah. Even if we assume that Trump will support the settlements (and, as I said, that is uncertain), shouldn't you ask yourselves for just one moment what kind of world—because apparently, there is a world outside Judea and Samaria—is the arrogant and rude reality star preparing for us, with the huge resources of the world’s No. 1 power in his possession?