After five elections in less than four years, it appears that Israel has finally elected a stable government, to be led by the man who is already the country’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Israelis reelected Netanyahu, because the Jewish state has never had a better leader. Among his achievements are economic prosperity, peace agreements with four Arab countries and the growth of Israel’s reputation as the “Start-Up Nation.” I wish everyone shared my enthusiasm for Netanyahu’s return to power, but not everyone does.
Netanyahu hasn’t even officially started negotiations to form a government and people are already panicking. They fear that Israel will become less pluralistic and tolerant, and that it will drift further and further away from the so-called “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Some of this fear is due to the fact that Netanyahu’s new government will likely feature politicians from the Religious Zionist Party (RZP), most notably Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. These two individuals and their party are often accused of being anti-Arab, anti-LGBTQ and anti-peace, among other things. A lot of the criticism the RZP receives, however, comes from some very hypocritical sources.
For example, the Palestinian Authority wasted no time in criticizing the results of the recent elections, saying that they reflect an increasingly intolerant and racist Israeli society. But this is the same P.A. that fails to protect religious minorities under its jurisdiction, as evidenced by a recent attack on a church by several Muslim men in the P.A.-ruled town of Beit Sahur.
It’s no accident that ever since the P.A. was created in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords, the Christian population of P.A.-ruled territory has shrunk significantly. This is because of the relentless persecution of Christians at the hands of the Muslim majority.
The P.A. also has the hutzpah to accuse Israeli politicians of racism while it continues to demand that all Jews be expelled from a future Palestinian state. If that’s not racism, I don’t know what is.
The new Israeli government under Netanyahu will certainly not be anti-peace. It will be a government that recognizes the present reality in which a two-state solution is not a solution to anything, but rather a recipe for disaster.
If anyone is anti-peace, it’s the Palestinian leadership, which in no way promotes peace and coexistence with Israel. Instead, Palestinian textbooks promote the murder of Jews and Palestinian media is inundated with imagery that glorifies terrorism. No wonder that whenever a Jew is murdered by Palestinian terrorists, the Palestinians celebrate by handing out candy.
In fact, history shows that right-leaning politicians like Netanyahu tend to be good for peace. Let’s not forget that it was a right-wing government under Prime Minister Menachem Begin that achieved peace with Egypt. Forty years later, Netanyahu concluded normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. His efforts more than doubled the number of Arab states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel.
I have almost no doubt that by the end of his upcoming tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu will have achieved peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Arab and Muslim states. In contrast, the left gave us the Oslo Accords, which resulted in runaway terrorism and the deaths of hundreds of Israelis.
Netanyahu and his right-wing partners’ return to power should be a cause for optimism, not fear. The only ones who should fear the new government are Israel’s enemies.
Jason Shvili is a freelance writer from Toronto, Canada, who specializes in Israeli and Middle Eastern politics.