How Netanyahu transformed the tiny nation of Israel

by Avi Abelow

Prime Minister Netanyahu will be written in the history books as one of the best and most transformative Prime Ministers of Israel, perhaps ever.  This video is an excellent analysis of the impact Bibi has had on Israel over the 10+ years that he has led the country.

Old Economy vs. New Economy

When Netanyahu was first elected Prime Minister in 1996 he had to grapple with the old Israeli economy.  He was a young and popular leader of the Likud party.  The founders of the State from the Labor party had built up the country’s economy based on socialist principles.  But, this made it difficult for businesses to thrive and grow.  There were too many regulations, and businesses felt strangled by red-tape.  Opening up a new business or expanding an existing one was a big challenge.  One of the most important impacts Bibi has had on Israel, if not the most important, has been the fact that he freed up the economy.  Netanyahu, little by little, tore away the socialist aspects of the economy and transformed Israel into a modern capitalist economy.  Still, much legislation remains that keeps Israel a socially conscious economy, despite a capitalistic base of operation.

Neighboring Arab Countries

There are many ways Netanyahu has impacted Israel, diplomatically, technologically etc. Even in strengthening Israel’s relationship with the Arab/Muslim world, Netanyahu has made alot of progress.  This is an area that few focus on when discussing Netanyahu, but he deserves much credit here too.  There are more Arab countries that have unofficial positive ties with Israel today than at any time before in Israel’s history.  In the Middle East, it is not either peace or war.  There are lots of gray areas in the middle as far as relations between countries.

Netanyahu and Obama

In addition to all of his accomplishments, the most important thing about Netanyahu’s leadership has to be the way that he handled Obama’s presidency. Obama’s presidential term consisted of 8 extremely unfriendly years for Israel. He pressured Israel at every turn in order that Israel give up it’s interests.  On the other hand, Obama never pressured Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to give up on anything.

Obama even stopped the US from transferring munitions to Israel in the middle of the Gaza war! His administration, via the FAA, also suspended flights to Israel, causing huge damage to Israel. That was an unprecedented move that no President had ever done before.

Bowing to Pressure

Many of the existing leaders of Israel’s major political parties would have bowed to the constant pressure Obama placed on Israel. Not Netanyahu. He is probably the only one who skillfully maneuvered Israel’s diplomacy to survive 8 unfriendly years of the Obama Presidency. And he did this without giving up on Israel’s interests.

Netanyahu and Settlements

The one major issue we disagree with this video is about the settlements. The producers definitely are not supporters of Israel building homes for Jews in our ancestral homeland of Judea and Samaria. They frame Bibi in a negative light that he supported expanding “settlements”. We come from the opposite direction. Netanyahu has not built enough. He also has not implemented the legislative, or judicial, changes necessary to allow for more building in Judea and Samaria.

I do think Bibi is making a mistake by not pushing for the necessary changes for us to build more in Judea and Samaria and to push for the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria. Even with that, I do appreciate Netanyahu’s diplomatic prowess.

Dr. Kedar - Ra'am
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