With hours left to Prime Minister Netanyahu’ mandate to form a government set to expire, many are wondering whether this is really the end of Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister.
After 28 days of negotiations and offers, it appears, barring a miracle that the mandate to form a government will pass from Benjamin Netanyahu to either Yair Lapid or Naftali Bennett at midnight tonight. Whoever is tasked will get another 28 days to form a coalition. If a government still remains elusive, then the mandate gets sent to the Knesset, which will most certainly lead to 5th elections.
Israel is at a crossroads. It has become a world leader under the guidance and rule of Prime Minister Netanyahu and yet, its political system remains a place that is prone disorganization, bribery, and sectoral politics. What we are witnessing now is a slow crash of the current structure that will most certainly speed up as Netanyahu’s departure becomes certain. In some ways he and the system have become one entity. Detaching one from the other is fast becoming something cathartic for the nation.
After all, Netanyahu is a Churchillian figure; a world renown statesman that has put Israel at center stage in a changing globe. The Jewish nation has become the fulcrum of the Middle East that has seen a rising Iran along side historical peace deals between Israel and many in the Sunni-Arab world.
Yet, with all that success, mostly due to Netanyahu’s vision, connections, drive, and leadership, Israel has begun to yearn for a different type of leadership – a leader that not only finds a way of bending the system to his will, but a leader that unites the country and helps it rise and reach something far more idealistic than just economic prosperity.
Netanyahu has defeated his internal enemies through guile, backstabbing, trickery, and oath breaking. The country forgave him for it, because many of the people that he defeated were revealed to be dangerous for the nation and small minded. However, there were others that were loyal and honest and after a while many of those who were younger have now come to age and have risen up.
The State of Israel is a changed place. It is far more unified than what we see in the Knesset. The tragedy of Meron shows that there is a soft unity behind all the toughness. What is really going on now, as Netanyahu tries with all of his might to hold onto power, is that something else emerging. The generation below Netanyahu has in some ways grown up in a country that did not suffer from the inferiority complex and siege mentality of those before it. It weathered the destruction of Gush Katif foisted upon it by those older and fought a losing war against Hezbollah for a corrupt Prime Minister. It came of age as Netanyahu led the country to economic success – seeing the world through different eyes.
And now it wants to lead. It does not want to serve more corrupt politicians who built their careers on unkept promises and handouts.
Israel is meant to be a light to the world not just a place that appears to be a leader in innovation. For all the good Netanyahu has done for the country, it appears time for him to move on and others to take up the leadership of the State of Israel. He may find a way once more to hold on, but the message is clear – he is on his way out. The only question really is, which of those from generation of Gush Katif and the Second Lebanon War are prepared to lead.