The Indefatigable, Unbeatable Benjamin Netanyahu

He fought a vicious, divisive campaign. But now the Israeli people have gotten what they wanted.

Comments: 156

  1. "We learned that to win against a political opponent one has to have a message more profound than 'everyone but him.' " Netanyahu's divisive campaign should serve as a warning to Americans. The Democratic candidate facing Trump won't stand a chance by merely offering an alternative that is more decent and respectful. Welcome to the Age of Rage.

  2. Close to half the Jewish population in Israel defines itself as “right” or “center right.” About half of the Jewish population defines itself as “religious” or “traditional.” The left is small (less than 20 percent of the Jewish population). The Arab population plays its own political game and refrains from the compromises needed to join a coalition. So, in fact, while pundits tended to focus on campaign tactics and strategy, Mr. Netanyahu had the most important advantage: He represents the views of the majority.The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. That's why I support the BDS movement.

  3. @KOOLTOZE Israel was a moderate state concerned for its security before the Soviet Jews arrived 25 years ago. Since then it has headed for totalitarian right wing status.

  4. @KOOLTOZE Who governed the West Bank before 1967?

  5. @Mike ... The approximately 2,180-square-mile (5,650-square-km) area is the center of contending Arab and Israeli aspirations in Palestine. Within its present boundaries, it represents the portion of the former mandate retained in 1948 by the Arab forces that entered Palestine after the departure of the British. The borders and status of the area were established by the Jordanian-Israeli armistice of April 3, 1949. Pop. (2017) 2,881,957.

  6. He may be unbeatable, but he just can't quite win either. That is some small relief.

  7. I am a non religious Jew, who believes that things such as the boycott and divesture movement were wrong and in the fundamental necessity of a Jewish State in the Middle Wast. But frankly after watching recent history and the reelection of Mr. Netanyahu I oppose even one nickel in aid to Israel.

  8. @dhkinil I am an atheist, and I wholeheartedly agree.

  9. Too bad Netanyahu was given another chance to go on, corrupting Israeli politics. Thsi smells Trumpian, and the price may be staggering at the end, at least if it wants to be called a democracy....where freedom and justice rule.

  10. I keep hearing you mention “his policies” and his “philosophy.” It would be nice if you could clarify by using more descriptive and accurate words like “nationalism,” “far rightism,” “bigotry”, and “authoritarianism.” Let’s not forget what these “philosophies” are that are winning him continued support.

  11. Please don't call it a 'Trump peace plan'. It was nothing more than validating a land grab driven by a Kushner payback for desperate loans and an Adelson payback for campaign contributions. It is with sadness that Israel has followed the same path as the United States and resorted to electing a criminal. For a country that relies so heavily on import/export and needs good International relations, the election of Netanyahu further adds to polarization and the BDS movement. Israel, like so many other countries, is desperately in need of better political choices.

  12. If the US stops enabling the bully behavior of Israel with free weapons, it might regain its sanity, realize it's note even the size of Austria and vote for a more diplomatic leader.

  13. Rightwing Authoritarianism increases its stranglehold on Israel and its ascendency in many other parts of the world. If the US fails prey to it (again,) the light at the end of the tunnel may be extinguished.

  14. Israelis love to brag, flaunt, the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. If so, then how can Israelis vote for a man who will soon be on trial for corruption? Israeli democracy is in as much danger as is U.S. democracy is in danger from a corrupt, narcissistic liar. Indeed, liberal democracy is under attack from far-right wing zealots.

  15. @Arch At best, Israel is a hegemony for Palestianians and a democracy for Jews. But in truth permanent subjugation of part of the demos is inconsistent with the principle of inclusion necessary for the existence of democracy. So, in the most basic sense, Israel is not a democracy.

  16. @Arch Israel loves to violently oppress minorities and all non-jewish opposition with firearms and explosive missiles. Great democracy.

  17. The analysis of the electorate is so vital. Here in the US we often get bogged down discussing the merits of the candidates and whether they are electable, when in fact the success/failure is built into the demographic/ideology makeup of the electorate. People ask how did Bibi win with all the scandal, controversy, etc. To paraphrase James Carville, it's the electorate stupid

  18. Well Done Bibi! Israel will now survive under your leadership! Your friends are more powerful than your enemies, but the barbarian Terrorists of Syria, Iran(and thus Iraq), Jordan all support barbarian palestinian Terrorists, mostly through Hamas in Gaza, but elswhere also, I suspect! Be strong and alert, and good luck!

  19. Bibi is corrupt, unethical, dogmatic, and vindictive. If the majority of the people want him, then it's simply a reflection of the Israeli people and their mindset. You get the government you deserve. For the Israelis, the same old, same old, suits them just fine.

  20. @K McNabb I guess that applies to us also?

  21. @K McNabb orthodox religion of almost any kind seems to be corrupt, dishonest, misogynistic, patriarchal and racist.... when will we ever learn?

  22. @Tenzin Hopefully not.

  23. Are there no term limits in Israel? 10 years as PM is a long time!

  24. This lesson, here and now, keeps repeating itself louder and louder, and still no one hears: When you move further from the center, from genuine speaking, listening, hearing and responding, then your interlocutor does the same. For both of you are human and both of you are scared. The only answer still, in Israel and in America: Run to that "center" that they say is gone; that all the smart and pragmatic say is a void, a nowhere existing only in the mind of fools. Birth it afresh from your imagination if you must. Do you, do I, have the courage to be such a fool, the kind that saves the world?

  25. The corrupt, devious, destructive Netanyahu is more like it. With Netanyahu Israel's values will continue to slip, as ours do with Trump. You'll never have peace with Netanyahu; like Trump, his lifeblood is fear. This guy is like gum on your shoe -- you just can't get rid of it.

  26. I wonder if Israelis like Netanyahu because he's such a great prime minister or because he's friends with Trump. And will Bibi still be a "majician" if he's found guilty of corruption by an Israeli court? Or if his American sugar daddy doesn't win a second term?

  27. You say this: “In other words, the highly personal victory of Mr. Netanyahu, somewhat ironically, is also the triumph of substance — worldview, experience, philosophy — over, well, less substance.” The only discernible worldview of Mr. Netanyahu is hatred of Arabs and fear of going to prison. How is that a triumph for the good people of Israel?

  28. The author states that “The Arab population plays its own political game and refrains from the compromises needed to join a coalition.”, but didn’t the Arab parties decide to back Gantz no questions asked. The Blue and White party refused accept their help. The fault for Blue and White staying in the minority is entirely due to their own stubbornness.

  29. @NKM If this is in fact true, shame on the Blue and White Party. Perhaps, Israel gets what it wants and deserves with Netanyahu. Perhaps his ways are the ways of the Israeli people. How tragic.

  30. @NKM There has been refusal all around to form coalitions with the Arab parties. Imagine if someone got up in the US and said they would never sit in an administration with African-Americans. Israel has the leadership it wants and it's ugly. Hate, said one of Bibi's partisans, is at the heart of Likud's strategy. Let's stop all talk that the US and Israel have "shared values." We don't.

  31. @NKM The Joint List did not agree to enter any coalition, and even if they had, in this latest election, Blue and White + the Joint List + the Zionist Left didn't have the seats for a Knesset majority.

  32. He reminds me of Nixon. He just won't go away.

  33. Purim seems to have come early. Israelis can't tell the difference between a political leader with integrity and one without. The immediate future does not look too bright, sadly, and the courageous, visionary leadership required to unify Israelis as a nation-state people remains beyond reach. The country and its people will continue to be divided and guided by both fear and identity intolerance. A bissel hamintaschen and schnapps won't make merry for Purim given this travesty.

  34. @Jerry S Yup. And you remind me that it is almost time to make hamentasen. In spite of Bibi.

  35. The Netanyahu victory is in line with all other countries that are voting or enabling a takeover by tyrants. Humans have been set up by evolution to prefer such male leaders in times of crisis, and Israel is no exception. This is why Trump will win, no matter what the democrats do. So dictatorships and consequent wars are in humanity's future for the next several decades.

  36. @Inveterate Trump will not win! he is yesterday's news at this point. Independents and republicans (who hate trump) will never vote for him again. The US will do a course correction as it always does. 3.5 years of chaos, insanity, instability, corruption have made almost all thinking people sick of the trump/dump! Biden 2020!

  37. The conclusion of this opinion piece leaves me with a feeling of despair. Unlike the author, I just can't work up any enthusiasm for the victory of power hungry leaders who will behave as ruthlessly as needed to win. Is this really the type of leadership we should be celebrating? Is this the leadership that will ultimately lead to peace and prosperity for all. Forgive me if I express some skepticism. I won't mention any names, but in the 20th century Europe elected some leaders who pretty closely resemble the model celebrated by Rosner...they were ruthless leaders, who really really wanted to win and who had the support of the majority of their public. Things didn't turn out too well.

  38. @Drew he’s trump’s kindred spirit. As corrupt as they come.

  39. @Drew Netanyahu does not want peace and prosperity for all. He wants, in order: power; avoiding prison; establishing a far right corporatist state; stealing as much land as he can; and creating a never ending insurgency by those from whom he steals the land, with nothing left to lose.

  40. @Drew You 'won't mention any names." Please do. if you are referring to Benito Mussolini or Adolph Hitler, kindly remember than neither one of them rose to power with fifty per cent or more of the popular vote.

  41. From way over here, I can't explain Netanyahu. But I can't explain Trump either. Every once in a while, the earth flips the magnetic poles.

  42. Israelis are desperate.

  43. @tony there has never been a stronger Israel.

  44. The vicious, awful Benjamin Netanyahu.

  45. When faced with a choice between a leader who puts first above all the safety of citizens in the country versus global "humanitarian" concerns, it seems like a no-brainer!

  46. @toddchow No-Brain is a great way to explain the demagogic, autocratic wave around the world. But it is reductive. I don't think people who voted for this or other strong-men types are stupid, perhaps just lacking in moral character. I fear the response will be to elect similarly autocratic "liberals" aka plutocrats or technocrats who will claim to save us from the racists within our own countries. Democracy is what matters in the coming decades and Bibi fails at that altar, but nor more than say, Bloomberg.

  47. “As a defendant facing the prospect of jail, his priorities and his leadership could be affected.” My goodness, one would hope his leadership would be affected.

  48. Trump and Netanyahu- two Fascist peas in a pod. Shame on America and Israel.

  49. Mr. Netanyahu is a blight on humanity. Full stop.

  50. @Richard Blaine Yea, but he has the vocal quality of a true leader.

  51. Netanyahu continues to win because too many Arab and Muslim nations continue to press for the destruction of Jews and Israel. There was a time when a two-state solution was possible but those nations rejected that possibility because the ongoing anti-semitism played well at home. You see what has happened as a result. The Trump/Kushner peace plan continues to offer Palestinians less and less and why would there be any incentive in Israel to offer more? They've offered plenty in the past and it's gotten them nowhere except greater threats from increasingly weaponized militant factions. As long as Netanyahu holds the line on Israeli security (and he is consistently and justifiably upping ante in that regard) he will continue to stay in office for as long as he desires to remain there.

  52. @Fripp1 The best security is peace. Repeating misinformation that Israel proposes peace and incentives and the Palestinians refuse because they want the destruction of Jews and Israel is counter productive and misleading. Also, Israel has to stop complaining that the Palestinians are not subservient enough and nice to their oppressor. Where there is no hope, constant inhumane treatment and no future, the young generation is left with no hope and options and they revolt. Not because they are anti Semite but because of survival

  53. @Fripp1 The Palestinians and Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic, according to the definition of what a Semite is: someone who speaks a Semitic language such as Hebrew or Arabic. They might be anti-Zionists, though, since that means opposed to having their land and property seized and controlled by the UN, Israel, or other entities trying to establish/expand a Jewish state. And let's not ignore the history of how and why Israel was established, and the "offers" that have been made to the Palestinian peoples, in an effort to whitewash Israel's behaviors.

  54. @Laeterna "opposed to having their land and property seized" As much as I disdain Netanyahu, this talking point needs to be addressed. The mandate of Palestine did not "belong" to the Arabs any more than Lebanon "belonged" the Christians or India "belongs" to the Hindus. Jews (and other non-Arabs) were a significant minority in the Holy Land decades before Israel was created. If you want to argue that partition was poorly planned that's one thing, but please disabuse yourself of the misconception that Jews "took" the Arabs' land.

  55. Israelis have an excuse for wanting someone who is under indictment to nevertheless continue to serve as prime minister - Netanyahu is someone who has given and continues to give Israelis a real sense of physical security in the face of military and terrorist threats from its numerous enemies. (Those in this country who support Donald Trump, however, will have to come up with another rationalization).

  56. Im not sure why anyone would be surprised that Bibi fought such a vicious campaign considering Bibi's history and the fact that Likud is now threatening to release more tapes of MK Yankelevich unless she moves over to Likud, according to Haaretz. What do you expect from a man who in 1995 whipped up, incited and stoked the anger of the far-right in Israel and said nothing to calm things down before Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. His response after Rabin's murder, according the former US ambassador Martin Indyk, was sadness. Not that Rabin was killed but that he was now in a political bind as he would have beaten him if he had lived, now he is a martyr and untouchable. Regardless Israel is heading for a constitutional crisis with such a man as its leader.

  57. It is probably just me, but I oppose apartheid, even when endorsed by God Himself.

  58. God, it just never stops!

  59. The people of israel should not accept the elections results. This is a banana republic result; corrupt to the core. Votes against the corrupt tyrant Netanyahu are simply not being counted.

  60. Lets take a look at the neighborhood in which the election takes place. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, all Dictatorships or Monarchies. Lebanon, no clue whats going on there but for sure not very democratic. Iran, a Theocratic dictatorship. Israel is by no means a Shangri-La, but they did just complete a fully democratic election, whether one approves of Netanyahu or not. Minorities are fully represented inside the green line, the Arab Block won 15 seats.

  61. Netanyahu's victory leads me to believe that the reasons for supporting Israel are now questionable, at best.

  62. It’s truly sad that Netanyahu has followed in the footsteps of Trump and that Trumpism has captured the majority of Israeli voters. As in America, it means only a downhill slide morally for Israel.

  63. A masterful politician and a truly awful statesman.

  64. who says crime doesn't pay?

  65. Like the US, they have gotten what they deserve. I for one am glad that fascism gets this test again. We are a decade or maybe two from a global disaster and yet none of the established governments could find a way to do a thing about it. The fascists if they do anything will destroy economies and kill people. That will be good for the environment, although a bit severe on the people. Anyway, it is what the people want. The people think it is action that they will get, but they are confused, because what they will get is ignorance and deception. You see, fascists gain power by insisting on a narrative that is not reality, so when they govern they choose to control that narrative rather than deal imperfectly with real issue. Thus they always fail, and they fail spectacularly and while denying the failure even as it happens before everyone's eyes. This is helped by the cult members who take way to long to wake to their brainwashed state. Eventually reality must set in and upheaval takes place, the very chaos that the cult members feared and use as their excuse for supporting their fascist dictator is exactly what they get. I think it will be nice in the future when our concern is with simply surviving as a species that we will not have to consider the fate of Israel as anything meaningful. The turmoil and struggle will be common and widespread throughout the world that we will consider that little corner of land insignificant.

  66. Israel had smart governments in the past. David Ben Gurion was a wise man, open to compromise, which made Israel go from success to success in the long run. Netanyahu makes Israel go from success to success in the short run, but in the middle and long run, his politics is close to suicide. So sad.

  67. What a shame the people of Israel cannot get rid of the corrupt Netanyahu. He like trump needs to go. He has been there too long and is too hardline. He may make some feel "safe" but he is actually doing the opposite. Israel will rue the day you did not retire him when you had the chance....

  68. "And yet half the country looked at the same qualities and made the opposite conclusion: In a dangerous world, this is the kind of leader we want on our side." Definitely! - Israel does not have the luxury of paving their 24/7 existential security threats with olive branches. Hopefully some day. And unlike trump Bibi is smartt and competent-courageous and basically a decent human being (in a dangerous world)

  69. It would be good to remember that even democracies can elect authoritarian governments and demagogues. A vicious corrupt strong man ruler like Netanyahu makes his country less safe not more. But like Trump he sells the illusion of security while his actions and policies build an explosive and reactionary opposition. Bibi didn’t cause the chaos and confusion surrounding Israel but he has certainly contributed to and profited by it. Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination by a strident religious nationalist opened the door for Netanyahu and he walked through it to help create an Israel that no longer cared for peace with the Palestinians. You can go ahead and point out the faults, wrongs, violence and terrorism committed by Palestinian extremists and you’d be right to condemn them. You’d be wrong to imply that’s all to the story or that the state sanctioned violence against Palestinians both innocent and guilty is somehow more acceptable because Israel is a democracy. Netanyahu does not want peace, neither do a significant portion of the Israeli public. They want dominance and territory, in this they are no different than any other country seeking power in that region and Netanyahu is no different than Putin or Erdogan or Trump. Demagogues all and a danger to their people and the world around them. We need to seek better leaders than this if peace and stability really are our goals, if aggression and dominance is desired than these thugs will do just fine.

  70. @John Chastain "Netanyahu does not want peace, neither do a significant portion of the Israeli public." Sorry, you are wrong. It's just that the Israeli public has given up on the idea of peace with the Palestinians for the foreseeable future. There is simply no Palestinian leadership with whom to make a deal. On the other hand, the Israelis are not only interested but are making substantial progress in making peace with lots of other Muslim and Christian nations both in the Middle East and in Africa.

  71. @John Chastain Why would Israel want peace? If there was peace, the US would probably cut back the billions it sends Israel every year. The US is financially rewarding Israel's terrorism against the Palestinians!

  72. Netanyahu can appeal to a wider public because he gets away with the things he does. He pays no price, because Israel pays no price. Extreme right wing hate and prejudice play well because they work out well so far. But it is like the guy falling from the 80th floor, thinking as he passed the 20th that so far, all is going pretty well. There will be a price. Trump won't demand it. But Trump is not the whole world, nor even the US soon enough.

  73. Netanyahu is still there for all the reasons stated in the opinion piece , but also because America unabashedly supports Israel right or wrong . Politically if the U.S. distanced itself , perhaps things would change since politically; at this moment it mirrors not only who is in office but the divisiveness between an ultra conservative right and a moderate wing . It is a struggle between those that would have the nation under it's control or those that believe in a government that is equal and works for all .

  74. "In other words, the highly personal victory of Mr. Netanyahu, somewhat ironically, is also the triumph of substance — worldview, experience, philosophy — over, well, less substance." Isn't this what usually happens in all forms of competition? The person or team, or whatever entity, wants something the most usually gets it. Elections are not about a search for truth and beauty, they are personal combat by other means. Whoever goes up against Trump should keep that in mind.

  75. The article presumes that Netanyahu represents the majority's view. It ignores the fact that Netanyahu's autocratic, fearmongering, bullying (sound like someone else) altered the electorate's views. Netanyahu has made Israel and Israelis a less safe, less moral people.

  76. It is past time to cut this guy off the USA should stop all backing now, he is a tyrant.

  77. @sandpaper One problem: We are ruled by a tyrant too. Until Trump is unseated, we have no high moral ground.

  78. 'In other words, the highly personal victory of Mr. Netanyahu, somewhat ironically, is also the triumph of substance — worldview, experience, philosophy — over, well, less substance.' These are the words of a bibi lover. As far as I'm concerned there is no reason to admire bibi's victory as he is nothing more then politician nr x. who's only concern is to stay out of jail. Reminds me of a certain impeached figure..... Oh yes, and please don't drag philosophy into this.

  79. Your headline should have included words like crooked, criminal, land thief, and insanely pursuing what will be an endless war.

  80. What is also evident is that the Israeli people really don't want a peaceful solution to their 60 year war with the Palestinians. They want a land grab, pure and simple and squeeze the Palestinians out of existence.

  81. Israel has offered peace many times and has been “rewarded” by events such as the Second Intifada. It returned all of Sinai to Egypt, took out every Jewish inhabitant from Gaza, leaving all of the greenhouses, and again was “rewarded”, this time by thousands of rockets. From the 1890’s on, Jews bought the mostly uninhabited land from absentee Arab landlords, creating jobs which attracted new Arab population. If we care about Palestinians, we must serve truth, not propaganda, so that they too can build a state which will serve its citizens, not its corrupt leaders.

  82. @Ruth Muskat Yes, don't listen to them, listen to me. The Palestinians have so many reasons to be happy.

  83. Please stop with the "apartheid" comments. It's just not accurate. For example, part of Trump's proposed plan calls for some Arab majority parts of Israel to be transferred to the new Palestinian state. The Arab citizens of Israel have rejected this. They want to remain in Israel. That alone tells you something about these foolish "apartheid" comments. Please visit Israel and see for yourself. There is no apartheid.

  84. @VSamuels Visit the occupied territories. See some of the "religious" Jews chopping down Palestinian olive trees and slashing Palestinian tires. Drive the segregated roads for Jews only. Talk to the soldiers who are guarding settlements instead of preparing for the next war with Hezbollah and Hamas. Count the billions spent subsidizing Jewish settlement of the occupied territories and then read the article in the other day's Times that talked about how Israel doesn't have enough money for more hospitals, to pay teachers a living wage and to improve public transportation.

  85. @VSamuels Trump's "offer" amounts to asking Muslims to choose that their children starve in slums while Israel controls literally all natural resources in the region. I guess that's better than what Israel's offered thus far, but not by much.

  86. @VSamuels Agreed. The Arab Joint List won as many as 14 seats in the Knesset. Please tell me how many seats the ANC held under apartheid.

  87. Until the last sentence, "In other words, the highly personal victory of Mr. Netanyahu, somewhat ironically, is also the triumph of substance — worldview, experience, philosophy — over, well, less substance", this article is just another character assassination of Bibi Netanyahu, typical of whenever the New York Times mentions his name.

  88. As long as we have people who vote their ignorance and paranoia human destiny will continue to circle the drain.

  89. Like Trump is loses Bibi faces criminal prosecution so best to cheat steal and lie to win re-election to save yourself.

  90. @REBCO And Trump will cheat, you can count on it. It's who he is.

  91. I read this with sadness and confusion. The author, one of the more erudite albeit "realpolitik" voices on Israeli politics, seems to be trying to convince himself that BN's election was partly inevitable, partly a good thing. I read it and think "Israeli as Argentina". If desire for power determines who governs, we are doomed. I would say the opposite; someone suspicious of the siren song of power is the best to govern. I have to remind people here in the US that Trump may be less of an aberration than what we deserve for worshipping non-spiritual success. I hope Israel fares better.

  92. @ThomHouse Apparently it's going to take decades for Israel to claw its way back from authoritarian, anti-democratic, militaristic rule--if ever. What happened? The US must stop supporting them. I hope that the Israeli people won't be further damaged by another round of political insanity.

  93. Bibi does anything to win, so did Pol Pot. Does Israel want to become everything it's enemies say it is?

  94. How will he rule from Jail? He's going down which means some second in command will have to take over, someone no one voted for. If he doesn't go down then the world will know that the State of Israel rejects the Rule of Law.

  95. In 1948, leftists in the United States, the musicologist Sidney Finkelstein, the folk singer, Pete Seeger (Tzena, Tzena, Tzena ...) cheered the founding of the State of Israel, but conservatives like James Forrestal and Lewis Strauss opposed it. Both sides saw it as the beginning of a socialist state devoted to communal institutions like the kibbutz, a national health service, strong unions, and a vibrant democracy with protection of the rights of minorities. Today, positions have reversed. Conservatives like Bret Stephens, David Brooks, and Jennifer Rubin cheer Israel, while leftists like Bernie worry about its racism and rampant capitalism. The explanation is that Israel has changed a great deal since 1948--from a social democracy to a right-wing, capitalist state like Hungary.

  96. "Less substance"? C'mon Shmuel. One doesn't have to be a West Point graduate to see that the IDF is wasting manpower and money guarding settlements instead of preparing for the next war with Hamas and Hezbollah. One doesn't have to be clairvoyant to see that Netanyahu and his good buddy Trump made a huge mistake attacking the Iran agreement. One doesn't have to have a Nobel Prize in economics to see that Israel is spending billions subsidizing the colonization of the West Bank when (as your recent article pointed out) Israel doesn't have enough money to build more needed hospitals, pay a decent wage to teachers or re-build its public transportation.

  97. @Bob Yes, but Israel also doesn't have any particular party or movement organized chiefly around addressing the woeful situation of Israeli domestic policy. That's really the political question: how do we get past the Second Intifada as a country, accept that a conciliatory approach to the Palestinian Authority didn't work, even if it came close in 2001 or 2008, and try to improve life for Israeli citizens?

  98. @Bob One does not have to be a genius to see that a hostile Palestinian nation side by side with Israel would be a disaster as the Palestinians have been educating their children to attack and kill Israelis since infancy.

  99. Benyamin Netanyahu is clever, is very energetic, and has engineered another election. But, somehow, it seems we are watching a drama that is less and less about Israel, and more and more about Mr. Netanyahu, personal problems of his own making, and the need for increasingly frequent Houdini-esque escapes. Regardless, for Israel, winning by dividing, if it continues long enough, is no longer winning. The domestic consequences and fractures are bad enough. And, in the long run, what does it profit Israel if it turns its back on the moral imperatives of an increasing percentage of the Jewish Diaspora, along with its neighbors and the community of nations.

  100. I have lost all respect for Israel.

  101. I'm not getting how your "triumph of substance — worldview, experience, philosophy" is "good news", when the winning worldview is warmongering, the experience is in corruption, and the philosophy is religious fanaticism.

  102. Thus disproving the whole “wisdom of the crowds” meme.

  103. Netanyahu, maybe not as good as Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin were, but still very good.

  104. @A. Stanton Prime Ministers Meir, Rabin and Begin all developed expansive, governing wisdom and statescraft after the energy and passion of their youth. Mr. Netanyahu has quick wits and impressive intelligence, but is a victim of ego and hubris. As William Gaddis said: “Most people are clever because they don't know how to be honest."

  105. I lived for a year on an Israeli kibbutz on the Lebanese border in 1969. Many older members had been in concentration camps; many young people had distinguished themselves in the army. Kibbutzim are small places and the young people - sabras and foreigners -- talked for hours about the kibbutniks' aspirations for their country and its future. They were honest and hardworking, passionate and caring. The young fathers I worked in with in the orchards and fields recognized there were young fathers on the other side of the border embattled against them as each worked to support their families. The kibbutzniks talked long about a just solution that brought peace. I cannot find any semblance of that community in the politics of Israel today as we hear about it in the news. Have they changed or are their voices drowned out? That group was courageous, resourceful and brave. The Israelis I read about in the press now are bullies and tyrants. I cannot support Israel today.

  106. There are those who believe the ends justifies the means. There are those who believe it is not if you win or lose, but how you play the game. Each of those views is mutually exclusive of the other. That is the way of the world. Support the Rule of Law, or don't.

  107. No offense, but this is casuistry. Netanyahu may have a worldview, experience and a philosophy––but they are all dark. Netanyahu is the exact opposite of cautious, as the 2014 Gaza war shows. He is reckless and shows little concern for human life not aligned with his worldview, experience and philosophy. He has made being a liberal Jewish person in the West much more difficult. People think of Jewish people like me and immediately link us to Israel's right-wing policies. He is bad for Israel and he is bad for Jewish people worldwide.

  108. It was inevitable that a country built on idealism but also on ethnic cleansing (and determined not to acknowledge this), would slide towards ethnocentric nationalism, if not fascism, in the end. This process was delayed for a while by the old generation from Europe, who still had an inclusive and idealistic self-image. Had the US not given blanket support for Israel, the country would have reached a compromise when it still could. History will most likely judge that AIPAC/ the Israel lobby were the downfall of Israel in the long run.

  109. Netanyahu has a strong showing in yesterday’s election and it “proved that he wanted the job more than all other candidates.” Despite his electoral win, his political survival is not guaranteed – his corruption trial in two weeks isn’t going away, because the rule of law is still robust in Israel despite his denigration of the judicary. Of course Netanyahu is desperate to stay in power, not only motivated by ambition. As he is still prime minister, he may use emergencies to delay hearings, and any verdict is not expected until mid-2021 and mid-2023. Being prime minister has its perks too. He and his wife enjoy indulging in a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense. The couple seldom misses an international event to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful. Netanyahu benefits hugely from his political office, receiving expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen – the source of his current legal troubles. His wife, Sara, overspent some $100,000 of state money on lavish meals, entertaining friends and family at luxury restaurants, while they employed a full-time chef at their official residence. She was convicted of misusing public funds last year. Their son, Yair Netanyahu, is said to hobnob with world leaders and enjoys a state-funded bodyguard, while living with his parents and travelling with them overseas. Who can blame Bibi that he wants to hold onto his job as long as he can?

  110. Netanyahu's victory is a defeat for the American people, whose treasure and credibility is essentially slaved to the behavior of an Israel which under his leadership has been taught to expect our support and to slander and demean any American with the least courage to oppose his cruelty to the Palestinian people. But so long as American politicians permit this moral blackmail to continue, what he and Israel do will in fact be blamed on us, and with good reason. Those of us who find ourselves on the losing end of this wretched relationship have no other choice but to continue to condemn this wretchedness and to warn our people and the world that we will in fact deserve what will at length happen to America and Israel if this sort of thing persists without change.

  111. @David A. Lee What absolute nonsense. To quote Henry Kissinger: "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests."

  112. @David H I'd love to believe you're right, but I don't and neither do a lot of other people. Check out polling data on the issue among Arabs and Muslims, worldwide, let alone among other nations which deeply reject our support of Israel.

  113. When religious Jews were faced with the a choice between two candidates for prime minister, Israel chose an immoral and corrupt individual, just like evangelicals continue to chose and support an amoral and corrupt president. No good will come of this, and history will judge us harshly for our jaded and dishonest choices.

  114. Just proof that we Jews are not the chosen people we thought we were. Once we have power, we can be like everybody else. This is all about fear and living in a bubble. Israel lives in a lucky moment, when all the Middle East is in turmoil and it feels untouchable. I hope Israel stays lucky. I hope Israel is still a country of laws and Bibi goes to jail soon.

  115. The takeaway here is that the vast majority of Israeli voters, including the 2 main parties, back Netanyahu's reactionary, xenophobic policies which contradict what we know about correct Jewish conduct from the Talmud - particularly as it relates to the "ger," the stranger among us. So why in the world should left-wing practicing Jews like myself support Israel as it now is? I see no reason. Not only does this make Israel a rotten nation, but it poisons our American domestic politics through the joint, manipulation of Netanyahu, McConnell and Trump. A plague on all their houses!

  116. Now that Israel has descended into the cesspool of political corruption, whatever special legitimacy they once commanded has been lost. As a non-practicing American Jew, I nevertheless always felt an obligation to stand with Israel against her enemies, but not anymore. Israel has shown herself to be no different from any other corrupt nation where smears and slander rule the day. David Ben Gurion and those that fought and lost their lives in order to establish a country where Jews of ALL kinds could feel safe would be horrified at the sight of a vile Netanyahu retaining office notwithstanding the charges against him and his unscrupulous conduct. He thinks he's a pope and should have the job for life - never has someone been more unsuitable to lead a country like Israel. If they think they can exist without the support of American Jews, I say "fine, more power to them." I have no interest in insisting that my government send tax dollars to prop up a government that models itself on those of Hungary, Poland, Russia and would-be Trumpland.

  117. His wings will melt eventually.

  118. This is the time of extremists from India to Israel to Europe and including the US.

  119. When history is written, Netanyahu and his thugs will not be treated kindly. Nor will the US whose protectionism of him and Israel has gone too far, leading to the end of any hope of a Palestinian state. If Netanyahu forms Government and furthers the cause of the land-thieving Settlers under US protection, there is no possibility of a viable Palestinian state. This is not about 'what might have been' in the past - it didn't happen. This is about now and the US and Israeli actions. Sure Hamas and Hezbollah act stupidly against a far stronger opposition, but that just affords Israel an excuse. Disgraceful

  120. While I am disappointed at Netanyahu's reelection, I also find the majority of comments disappointing in their self-rightious judgmental simplicity. I would recommend Matti Friedman's piece which considers how the horrific civilian-of-all-ages targeting terrorism of the 2nd Intifada continues to haunt Israelis making security paramount in voting for many. Despite his many faults Netanyahu continues to benefit from these sentiments. That the 2nd Intifada came directly after failed peace negotiations caused many Israeli's to feel the Palestinians desired their destruction more than a state in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli left was decimated by the 2nd Intifada, while moderates were pushed right on security. I would also recommend a deep dive into the decades of research by the Palestinian Media Watch which documents by translation into English of what is broadcast and printed in Arabic by Palestinian political, religious and intellectual leadership. The contrast between the "messages" to the international community in English and the hate and violence promoting messages in Arabic is disturbing. The notion so many commenters project that if Israel only played nice there would be peace and that the Palestinian and other Arabs are not complicit in the problem is dangerously naive.

  121. Israel demands that criticism of the country not be a matter of a double standard. That is, Israel should not be held to a code of behavior stricter than that to which other countries are held. Fear not. Democratic thinkers and activists though out the world will despise Netanyahu and Israel for the same reasons they dislike other demagogues and their regimes.

  122. Let's call this the Nietzschean era blip and let's hope that it's done with quikcly and takes away with it immoral, pure energy ubermen, such as Bibi, Trump, Duterte, and more....

  123. How proud Israel must be today re-electing an admitted liar, racist and fear monger. Once again you make a strong case for your claims to a divine right to do anything anytime you want. Just like your evangelical partners here who long for the day you all die. Ironic, no? Your interests leading to where you are today, an authoritarian occupier in league with conservative Christians willing to donate millions to resettle Palestine in order to see you dead ASAP. Bibi, claiming the high ground 24/7 and Israel, able to rationalize ANYTHING.

  124. Yes, the Israel people got a criminal. They should be ashamed of themselves

  125. Netanyahu is corrupt, a phony, a racist and the worlds leading terrorist. Like the Trumps, the whole family is disgusting. Israel has become no better than the Taliban led by religious fanatics and nuts murdering people because they think god is on their side. Israel, Iran and the Saudi’s deserve each other. Leave us out of it.

  126. Netanyahu, Trump and Putin. Perfect together.

  127. Bibi Netanyahu is as corrupt a con man as Donald Trump. It is why the right wing of Israel and the USA loves him!

  128. Pretty much time for America to stop paying upwards of 4 billion dollars a year to support the Netanyahu regime.

  129. History will not be kind to Netanyahu when Israel wakes up some day and finds out that there is a whole generation or two of Americans who are hostile to Israel and what it now stands for.

  130. The tiring, unbearable Mr. Netanyahu is still around, doing whatever he wants and getting away with it, whereas a decent man like Yitzhak Rabin gets shot dead in the street.

  131. And his shooter gets idolized by the right wing crowd that elected Bibi.

  132. Bibi has taken Israel down the wrong path for a long time. He's totally corrupt, yet Israelis chose him again. It's time we quit funding Israel and the boycott and divestiture movement are beginning to look good.

  133. @jas2200 Corrupt? What proof can you provide other than the reports you read in the newspaper? When your country is threatened to be wiped off the map by a hostile Iran, real or imagined "corrupt" behavior is the last thing you worry about it you are an Israeli voter.

  134. The fact that so many Israelis voted for Netanyahu is truly discouraging. It looks like distain for the law, whether it be national or international, is pervasive in the State of Israel. In addition the majority of the people seems to accept racism. Gone are the days of the respectable liberal democracy envisaged by the founders.

  135. Let's not overlook the fact that the Palestinians richly deserve a foil like Netanyahu. It's poetic justice. They've thrown away every opportunity for a homeland, and now they must deal once more with Bibi. And no one cares anymore. Life has passed them by.

  136. @Timothy You are going to be surprised by the number of people that DO care about justice for the Palestinians. You are also going to be surprised by the number of people who are going to abandon Israel.

  137. @Greg Sounds EXACTLY like Iranian regime propaganda. Its pretty well known that a primary source of the Iranian regime's legitimacy is its continued support for terrorism in the name of supporting the Palestinian people.

  138. Another giant step for the Israeli people on the path to self-destruction. The original concept has been corrupted.

  139. @Greg Right Greg. This is precisely what the Iranians say. Coincidence? I think not.

  140. We keep giving this corrupt government billions in aid, their citizens get free healthcare, and we get zapped.

  141. As an American taxpayer more than anything I just want to cut off the apron strings and stop flushing taxpayer money down this toilet. Seriously after 70 years we should be done. Wish them luck and let them follow the fate they want. They are going to do whatever they are going to do with the Palestinians, unfortunately, but they should then deal with the consequences without our skirts to run behind anymore.

  142. Not going to happen as long as AIPAC is around.

  143. "Being prime minister has its perks too. He and his wife enjoy indulging in a lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense." Mr. Netanyahu makes the equivalent of $173,000. That is taxed at over 50%, so he "takes home" about $85,000. His wife does not work for a salary. That is indeed lavish. The over-indulgence of his wife has at times been ordering too much ice cream. The residence at Balfour Street is crumbling, but it is never the right time time to refurbish because it will always look bad. True, Mr. Netanyahu does not re-use tea bags like Mr. Shamir, who felt a tea bag was good for 2-3 cups before throwing out, but let's put all this "indulgence" into proportion.

  144. A lot of vitriol below, disguised as ‘criticism of Israel’. In uncertain times, with enemies perched on their doorstep, launching rockets, threatening annihilation... Israelis seek reassurance and security. Apparently, that’s what Mr. Netanyahu provides. Meanwhile, wars have consequences. Perhaps the Arabs...themselves, the descendants of invaders, occupiers, and economic migrants to a land not their own....should have considered the prospect of ‘losing’ before waging 70+ years of war and terrorism in their (as yet ongoing) effort to wipe Israel off the map.

  145. Honestly, I do wonder why many here despair of Bibi winning. Yes, despite his many, many imperfections, he has been able to give Israel the one thing they value most: security. In case you haven't noticed, Israel is surrounded by virtually enemies on all sides and the sea. Not good odds. I am not fond of his deviousness or viciousness; he is no better than Trump in some cases but he has done what has been needed to keep his country safe. Without security and secure borders, Israel cannot enjoy the freedoms they have. They have tried working with the Palestinians and other governments, they have given land and still no change. And it has not been because they have been uncooperative. The next time I hear a person whine that Israel should give up land they won, I would ask that you demand the same of our government. Maybe we can give Texas and California back to Mexico. Don't be so quick to point out the failings of Israel if you cannot even look upon our mistakes as a country with the same critical eye. We don't have enemies out to kill us simply because of our heritage. Remember that.

  146. @Up Down All Around WRONG. WRONG and WRONG! Netanyahu has made Israel LESS secure. How much time and how many resources are spent by the IDF guarding settlements instead of preparing for the next war with Hamas and Hezbollah? Netanyahu prostitutes himself to his base. Wait until he needs the world's help to stop Iran's bomb. Then we'll see how secure Israel is -- because of his and his base's foolishness and short-sightedness

  147. @Up Down All Around Well said.

  148. @Up Down All Around Israel has not been "surrounded on all sides by enemies since they signed a peace agreement with Egypt over 40 years ago. Jordan is friendly to Israel, and did, in fact, warn Israel about the coming attack in '73. Syria's been out of the picture due to their bloody civil war, and is likely to remain hobbled after its over. This leaves the Palestinians. Whom Netanyahu has used as a convenient reason to keep Israelis electing him.

  149. I look at Mr. Netanyahu and see: A man who is now Israel’s longest-serving and arguably most-successful-ever Prime Minister; Whose country remains surrounded by enemies on all sides who after more 70 years are still sworn to uproot and do his people in; A country that experienced serious Iran-sponsored attacks by Hamas just a few days ago; A man who presides over an intensely democratic country known to be full of highly contentious and vociferous people who constantly feud among themselves and with their coreligionists elsewhere; A nation that is now widely recognized as a world leader in science, technology and medicine that was recently ranked in a landmark publication of the United Nations as the 13th happiest country in the world. The U.S. ranked 19th. A man being asked by the N.Y.Times and many of its readers to negotiate with self-appointed, never-elected Palestinian "leaders" who have frittered away the many billions of dollars they have received in international aid in the past 70+ years on arms, graft and terrorism. A man who is currently telling Palestinians in the clearest possible terms that their game is over; And that by obstinately refusing to come to the peace table with an offer to Israel of permanent recognition as the Jewish State with its capital in Jerusalem -- including meaningful land trades and security provisions -- means accepting the dreary, unenviable conditions they are now living in and the permanent loss of their dream.

  150. @A. Stanton There are those who believe the ends justifies the means. There are those who believe that it is not if you win or lose, but how you play the game. Each belief is mutually exclusive of the other.

  151. @A. Stanton Wrong is so many ways ...

  152. @Charlie Miller So it should be easy for you to cite a few examples of his errors ...

  153. Once upon a time, there was a vibrant "peace camp" in Israel led by the former Labor party. A good 45 percent of Israeli Jews supported the idea of Palestinian statehood. Did the Palestinians sit down to negotiate with Israel at this optimal moment? No. Then came the "intifadah" in 1987 and the suicide bus bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Mr. Netanyahu assumed the premiership in 1996 on a pledge to separate Israel from the Palestinians who by this time were viewed by a very large chunk of the peace camp as unwilling to co-exist with Israel. He offered unconditional negotiations with the Palestinians. Did they sit down to negotiate with Israel? No. Today, the "peace camp" no longer exists. The world -- including the Arab world -- has grown weary of the Palestinian victimization narrative. The rise of ISIS has proven conclusively that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no longer the engine of regional terrorism. And the Palestinians themselves, through their stasis, political sclerosis and intransigence, and sheer immobility have shown the world that their desire for "statehood" is a chimera. A leader is judged on what he / she has done to provide security for his / her people. Mr. Netanyahu is a hero in Israel because he has accomplished this task with aplomb, all the while bolstering Israel relationship with its most important patron. He is predictable and consistent -- qualities that are prized in a region of turbulence. And that is why we love him also.

  154. @David H Once upon a time Americans were willing to stand up for Israel when no one else of importance would. Did Israelis take our charity and goodwill and put it to good use? No. Today Israel supporters trend among supporters of The Donald more than any liberal or progressive ideology. Americans have grown tired of being treated like poor relations when we point out the dangerous future Israel is pursuing. Israelis want land more than peace and Americans are over it. A leader is judged one being able to lead, not divide through fear and rule through bribery. He certainly wouldnt spit in America's face by openly picking sides against our president. If you love Bibi so much, why do you live in America?

  155. @David H Would you "negotiate" with the criminal that stole your land and shot your grandfather when he tried to defend his land?

  156. For the third election in a row, the incumbent PM (Netanyahu) FAILED to get a majority of seats in the Knesset to form a government. That's a "victory"? Is Rosner incapable of simple math? Can he name any other PM in the WORLD who has failed to get a coalition majority three times in a row? Yes, his Likud party gained a few more seats -- but at the expense of his coalition partners. At the time of this writing (before the final count is in, including the massive soldier votes), more than half the country voted "Just NOT Bibi". Not exactly a stirring victory -- or any other sort.