I had the honor and privilege of speaking to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this past week. I thanked him for all of his accomplishments, and especially for advancing the Jewish People and the State of Israel beyond belief. As the longest acting prime minister in Israel’s history, he has reached a pinnacle very few - if any - will ever achieve. He has done it with brilliance and flair. He has a lot more to accomplish and he is the right prime minister to pull it off. In medicine and in other fields as well, we live by the principle that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
He has a Likud primary this week and he needs to win. He must be the candidate for the upcoming election in March 2020 if the Right stands a chance of forming the governing coalition. I am afraid that as good as his challengers might be, they are not yet ready for prime time. They will have a harder process defeating the Left than Prime Minister Netanyahu. Bibi stands the best chance of beating Benny Gantz and company. Even though the polls might indicate that Gideon Sa’ar would do well, in my estimation, he cannot do as well as Bibi against Gantz.
To top it all off, there is the great relationship Bibi has with President Trump. Why choose a new leader for the Right who has no such connection? I said the same thing about Boris Johnson in Great Britain. The British were smart. They chose a leader who had a close relationship with the American president. Why disrupt that essential and vital dynamism? The Israeli voter understands this. A vote for Bibi is a vote for President Trump. This was highlighted during the recent Democratic debate when the socialist Bernie Sanders called Prime Minister Netanyahu a “racist.”
It is clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing a lot more at keeping the Left at bay than he is given credit for by some on the Right.
One might ask what would be different about a third election? It is an important question. I believe that many of the stubborn forces at work will finally give way. Some of the resistance will relent from sheer weariness. Yes, it could be a case of “the third time’s the charm.” Bibi would once again stand the best chance of forming a coalition.
His age should not be a factor. President Trump will be 74 in the 2020 election. Bibi is only 70.
His indictment should not be a factor. President Trump looks stronger than ever despite (or because of) his impeachment. Similarly, Prime Minister Netanyahu looks even better to the voter when embattled and defiant.
The Likud primary this week is critical. It is a must-win for Bibi. Jewish survival depends upon it.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.