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July 3, 2013 8:26 am

There is Nothing Radical About New Likud Leader Danny Danon

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avatar by Ronn Torossian

Israeli MK and Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon. Photo: World Likud.

Israel lives in a tough neighborhood. Setting history aside for a moment, let’s talk about the political reality the country faces today.  Nearly 100,000 have been killed in Syria’s civil war (neither side is pro-Israel),  the newly elected  president of Iran has vowed to continue building nuclear weapons, millions are amassed in the streets of Egypt demanding the ouster of President Morsi. Of course the list of concerning  factors and threats goes on – The Palestinian Authority and Hamas aren’t on good terms, Turkey’s President is no friend of the Jewish state, and so on.

It’s a tough neighborhood.

Recently the largest political party in Israel, Likud  held an election in which a young, soft-spoken ideologue was voted Chairman of the Central Committee. Certain media outlets however, are  inaccurately describing the victor as a “radical”. One doesn’t have to be a public relations executive to know that apples aren’t being compared to apples when it comes to the media’s labeling of “radicals” in the Middle East.

The winner, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon is 42 and is destined for a bright future. He formerly served as the head of the Betar youth movement and is an outspoken defender of Israel. He has called for strong and secure borders for Israel and is a vocal advocate for the Jewish people.

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In the Likud election, he secured an overwhelming 85 percent of the vote.  He is secular, lives on a moshav and displays a formidable understanding of world politics. Danon spent time living in the United States and penned a book in English which called for Israel to be self-sufficient and to continue fulfilling the Zionist dream.

Many media outlets have described Danon in language which is far from accurate. Agence France Press (AFP) called him ¨.. a key figure of the radical right,” and The Associated Press called him a “hard-liner.”  These descriptions are simply inaccurate.

Danon isn’t a hard-liner nor a radical.  He is an ideologist with clarity – and I am certain that he would be more than wiling to come to fair agreements with any peace partner who approached Israel with genuine intentions for peace. Danon is a follower of Zionist visionary Ze’ev Jabotinsky and understands his “iron wall” concept – of a strong and secure Israel – and of the need for Israel to live and survive.

As I described in an op-ed on these pages on December 12, 2012, the times are changing in Israel. The rise of Danny Danon is surely just beginning.

There is nothing radical at all about the desire for Israel’s citizens to be safe and secure. The world media should call it as it is.

Ronn Torossian, the author of this article, has known Danny Danon for more than 20 years.  Follow Torossian on Twitter here

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