Is Israel preparing for a future without Netanyahu?

Hussein Shobokshi

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The curtain seems to be coming down on the era of the controversial Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now Israel is actually preparing for a political future soon without Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s end is approaching after his eight-year rule in which there was no political rival and no effective opposition. The period also witnessed relative security in the border areas as Arab region was occupied dealing with terrorist and extremist organizations such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

As the Arab world was reeling from internal fighting, Israel focused on its economy, registering a significant growth exceeding 4 percent. The country also broke the psychological barrier in the development of political and diplomatic relations by forging ties with countries that were outside the scope of its traditional interest. It struck important bilateral agreements with India and some important African countries, which included the security sector, of course, political aspects.

However, Netanyahu did not accomplish anything at the most important level — the Palestinians and the Arabs. He followed an expansionist and provocative settlement policy. Of late, he tried to prevent Muslims to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque by laying down humiliating and provocative rules for the worshipers.

The Netanyahu era gave the world the ugly face of an exploitative politician who has no value to promises or conventions in his dictionary

Hussein Shobokshi

Since the decision to impose new security rules has been rolled back I consider it to be a political and moral victory for the Palestinians and Muslims. Before that, there were huge objections by Diaspora Jews, specifically Jews in the United States of America, to one of the decisions of the Israeli government led by Netanyahu.

The decision here is meant not to allow the mixing of men and women prayer at the Wailing Wall, which the Jewish communities in the Diaspora considered a victory for the ultra-Orthodox extremist movement inside the Israel, which is the prominent voice in the coalition government with Netanyahu, and comes as a blow to the ambitions of the reformist movement in the Jewish community, which consists of liberal ideas and constitutes the most prominent orientation of the basis of thought scholarism.

Religious extremism

But since the arrival of the Likud Party under the leadership of Menachem Begin, Israel is growing in its “religious” extremism. This anger by the reformist movement of Jews in the Diaspora means that Netanyahu’s financial support and political connection with the United States of America has been cut off through the Jewish lobby.

Now it seems that the last nail is being put in the political coffin of Benjamin Netanyahu with the Israeli investigation opening up into Netanyahu’s corruption in two well-known cases. Investigators are looking into whether Netanyahu has done business in return for gifts from influential friends, including the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

The second case involves his relationship with the publisher of a local newspaper in Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth, to agree with him behind closed doors to stop the publication of the free Israel Hayom newspaper. The investigators obtained a “recording” documenting the interview between Netanyahu and the publisher.

He repeated the seriousness of the investigation that Ari Harrow, who was chief of staff in the Netanyahu administration in 2015, agreed to cooperate with investigators and gave full and profound testimony to the charges against Netanyahu in exchange for any mitigating provisions against him.

The Netanyahu era gave the world the ugly face of an exploitative politician who has no value to promises or conventions in his dictionary. The world will be a better place without Netanyahu. The question remains who will come as a replacement for him and how he will run a different Israel!

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 21, 2017.
Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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