I’m a Proud ‘Mapainik’ — But This Time I’m Voting for Netanyahu
To be honest, I have never voted for Netanyahu and the Likud. I would prefer to vote for a center-wing party, headed by an experienced figure with a rich security background, rather than a person who has been in the prime minister’s chair for 12 years in a row. Also, my political views have always been at the center of the political spectrum. I support the two state solution, and I’m in favor of public transportation on Shabbat and civil marriage. But on the other hand, I support a free economy, understand that the Middle East is not the European Union, and believe that the Jewish state must remain militarily and economically strong.
I decided to support Netanyahu and the Likud in the 2021 elections for three main reasons:
First, although he has been in office too long, Netanyahu is doing a good job overall. Economically, Israel is one of the most powerful economies in the world. The price gap in relation to Western countries has narrowed, and the shekel is one of the strongest currencies around the globe. Moreover, while significant improvement and budget addition is needed, the Israeli health system is one of the best and most advanced in the world. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly proven this argument. Israel has vaccinated its population quickly and effectively, and has handled the outbreak better than most countries in the world.
Second, Israel’s security and political situation has never been better. While it is desirable to reach a solution to the Palestinian problem soon and end the occupation over another people, the State of Israel, led by Netanyahu, has proven that it is a regional power that can confront its enemies, yet reach out for peace with the Arab world.
In practice, the peace agreements that Netanyahu reached with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, are the convincing proof that his path has worked, and that the road to peace passes through political and economic power rather than making concessions to those who call for Israel’s destruction. In addition, Netanyahu has stood up to the United States when necessary, and explained why US foreign policy regarding the Middle East is not always beneficial to this complicated region.
Finally, the demonization that the “no Bibi” camp has employed has finally crossed a line. It’s certainly fine to disagree with Netanyahu and his agenda and actions, but to determine that Netanyahu is guilty and corrupt before he receives a sentence from the court is a vicious and unethical act. Like all defendants, the presumption of innocence should apply to Netanyahu.
Worse than that, some in the anti-Netanyahu camp seem open to a joint government with the Arab Joint List, even though some of its Knesset members have expressed support for terrorists such as Samir Kuntar, who murdered in cold blood a 4-year-old girl just because she was Jewish. Yet, at the same time, the leaders of the center-left bloc deny any possibility of forming a government with Benjamin Netanyahu, as if he were someone like Yasser Arafat.
In conclusion, there is no alternative to Netanyahu’s leadership in the center-wing bloc. Currently, the Likud led by Netanyahu, with people like Avi Dichter, Yoav Galant, Nir Barkat, and others, is the successor of the historic Mapai. I sincerely hope that one day, the leaders of the center-wing parties will know how to put their egos aside and unite, and realize that the only way to replace Netanyahu is to stop the demonization against him. Until then, I am voting for the Likud led by Netanyahu.
Ori Wertman is a PhD candidate and research assistant at University of South Wales, UK, and an Adjunct Researcher at the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, Israel.