I just came back from a short visit to Israel, after a year of being away. I met family and friends, and as is the norm with Israelis, the conversations also touched on the matsav – literally “situation” – a generic term for discussing current political affairs.
My foremost impression is unfortunately not a positive one. Almost everybody I spoke with expressed some kind of “giving up” attitude with regards to Israeli politics. Regardless of political affiliation (and many of my acquaintances are right-wing supporters), there seemed to be a general consensus that prime minister Netanyahu is bad for Israel, but there is nothing they can do about it. One of my family members, a young man in his twenties, said he doesn’t vote because nothing can be changed, adding that this is also the case with many of his friends. Others spoke about the daily grind of putting food on the table (metaphorically speaking, of course) which has become so hard as to leave no room for thinking, let alone doing something, to change Israel for the better.
To me, this is a strong indication of Netanyahu’s success in his ultimate goal: personal survival. I reached the conclusion long ago that Netanyahu cares more about securing his position than about the welfare of Israel’s citizens, and this is why I think he should be replaced (and it doesn’t matter by who). Now it seems that his success is beyond my worst dreams, as he has also succeeded in killing hope. The combination of fear politics with the elimination of any potential political rivals has placed Netanyahu in the same footing as some infamous 20th century rulers, living no room for his “subjects” to effectively protest. In those cases only a calamity, or outside intervention, eventually changed things.
I want to believe that not all hope is lost. I want to believe that Israelis, one of the most resourceful and forward-thinking group of people on the planet, will find a way to better their lives by getting rid of the worst prime minister in the country’s history.