Israel’s government, under the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu (prime minister for the past 7 years), has long ceased to govern. It is busy perpetuating its existence through an endless stream of populist practices and actions. When remaining in power is the sole raison d’être, even its own declared vision and policies are not acted upon.
A small, anecdotal story this week is a good case in point.
The Ministry of Tourism announced it will promote gay tourism to Israel by painting an Israeli aircraft in the rainbow flag colours and bearing the words: “Tel Aviv Pride 2016”.
The cost of this commercial gimmick? 11 million Israeli shekels (about 3 million US dollars). That is more than seven times the annual government budget for funding gay groups in Israel, which stands at a grand total of about 1.5 million shekels.
If the government really cared about gay rights, it could have used this funding to assist gay groups instead of spending it on a publicity stunt. But when populism is the name of the game, this decision seems perfectly logical.
This is not a Potemkin Village. This is a Potemkin Government