AMAC Exclusive – By Herald Boas
The global media, predictably hostile to conservatives everywhere — in Israel, Europe, and North America – is attempting to delegitimize the newly-elected Israeli government led by Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu with the constant use of epithets, including “far right,” “extreme” (or) “hard right,” “extremist,” and other pejorative terms inconsistent with their treatment of equivalent figures and groups on the left.
In the case of the European and North American media, they are trying to brand Israel’s new government as uniquely extreme and undemocratic.
In so doing, they ignore the fact that Israeli voters were fully aware of the views of the parties that make up the new government — and that after several years, this coalition won in a free national election the required majority needed to form a stable administration of the Jewish state, which is the only true representative democracy in the region, and a long-time ally of the U.S.
The outgoing Israeli government consisted of a hodgepodge of left-to-right parties that was formed primarily to oust Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving and most popular single political figure. This coalition faced internal conflict and declining popularity almost from its beginning. Now, as the opposition to Netanyahu, they have been predictably hostile to the new government even before it took power — and the media has uncritically echoed their negative propaganda, especially their attempt to brand the Netanyahu administration as extremist.
It is true that the smaller religious parties in the new government coalition hold some fundamental religious and social views that the members of the largest coalition party, Likud, do not. Many of these views are opposed by Likud and Netanyahu himself. Especially in the protection of human rights, Netanyahu has explicitly and forcefully been critical of discriminatory views, and he has guaranteed all Israelis their constitutional protections.
Internal disagreements within the new coalition do lie ahead. Although Israel is a Jewish state with a substantial Arab minority, many Israeli Jews are not very religious, and those who are divide in several groups, including orthodox, Hasidic, conservative, and reform — each of which worships and practices their religion in their own way. The more fundamentalist or haredi groups historically attempt to impose views on marriage, conversion, military service, settlement rights, etc., which often conflict with national policy.
In creating the new majority coalition, pragmatist Netanyahu has had to make compromises with each group, whose leaders before the election often used inflammatory language. Some changes in social and education policies are now likely, but all of them were expected by voters who gave Likud and its partners their majority.
The same divisions among Jews in Israel exist in the U.S., the world’s second-largest Jewish community, which numbers about 6 million. But the American community, not facing 75 years of constant threat and violence from its neighbors, is much more politically liberal. Many U.S. Jews favor an immediate two-state solution with the Palestinian community, but this is no longer favored by most Israeli Jews (after many attempts to create a non-hostile Palestinian West Bank state were rejected by Arab leaders).
Bibi Netanyahu is an economic and political conservative who has strong support from Jewish Republicans, but is disliked by the many more numerous liberal Jewish Democrats — and by the liberal establishment media.
At its founding in 1948, Israel was a socialist state, and its socialist Labor Party dominated Israeli politics for decades. Today, that party and other leftist parties are small. Netanyahu was among the Israeli leaders who helped transform the nation’s economy to a free enterprise model, launching the tiny Jewish nation to become a major player in global technological and medical research, innovation and high-tech production.
The Israeli population has swelled in recent years with waves of immigrants — first with North African and Middle Eastern refugees, then with more than a million refugees from Russia, then with the rescue of thousands of black Jews from Ethiopia, and now with French and other European Jews fleeing the current wave of anti-semitism, as well as a stream of other Diaspora Jews making Aliyah (immigration to the Promised Land). Today, there are 7 million Jews in Israel, 2 million Arabs, and about 500,000 Christians and others. About 450,000 Jews now live on the West Bank.
The previous U.S. administration began to break the long stalemate between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the nation’s capital, recognized Israel’s need to hold the Golan Heights, and made a breakthrough with the Abraham Accords in which several Arab nations formally recognized the Jewish state, opening diplomatic and commercial relations. The latter succeeded because Israel and most of its Arab neighbors face a common threat from Iran and its pursuit to develop nuclear weapons.
The current U.S. administration, however, has been in favor of reviving an agreement with Iran that was abandoned as unworkable, and is opposed by Israel and most other nearby Arab states. The establishment media, always sympathetic to the Biden administration and its policies, has been routinely critical of Israel and Netanyahu for opposing the Iran nuclear agreement. Netanyahu spoke against the agreement when he was previously prime minister, and will now continue to do so with his new government.
President Biden’s long-held inclination to appease Iran originated during the administration of President Barack Obama (Biden was then vice president) — a period when relations between the U.S. and then-Prime Minister Netanyahu turned quite icy.
The U.S. liberal media has fanned the political differences between the liberal Biden administration and the new conservative Netanyahu government with a war of epithets and adjectives, echoing Israeli opposition leaders’ rhetoric and satisfying American critics of Israel on the left — all of this before the new Israeli government took office.
Governing Israel, like any representative democracy, is always a challenge, and when the new government takes full charge and implements its policies, it will be open to legitimate criticism and opposition. But the war of words and defamation already in full throat by most of the Israeli, U.S., and other global media, needs to be seen and understood for its bias and predetermined attempt to undo what the voters themselves decided.