December 23, 2019
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.
THE ONGOING STRUGGLE IN ISRAEL
With the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the headlines, the deadlocked prime minister’s election controversy in Israel has gone unreported. However, the kettle is boiling. Here’s something of the give and take now going on.
Senior members of the Right-wing bloc have moved toward creating a third election to settle the question of who is the prime minster. However, the Likud party (Netanyahu’s base) has not expressed an interest in this position. Netanyahu continues to attempt to form a coalition government. Recent polls appear to give him an edge in such an election. However, 24% of the electorate remain undecided and that vote would certainly determine the outcome. Such an election would determine the prime minister and force the Knesset members to get along with the winner whether they like him or not. Not a very happy solution!
The kicker remains. Bribery charges.
For over two decades the Israeli High Court has stood by a singular position. They expect anyone charged and indicted on bribery charges to resign. If a leader cannot carry out the public’s trust, then they should step down. This volatile issue is what is smacking Netanyahu in the face. The general opinion is that it is hard to imagine the High Court allowing him to stay in officer if convicted of bribery.
Bribery is the legal death knell for any prime minister.
Consequently, there have been and continue to be charges and counter-charges. The under the table rumors are equally damaging. Currently, there are staunch witnesses against Netanyahu and they are not going away.
There is a strange irony between Netanyahu and Trump. Both men have continued to kick up dust to obscure the actual charges against them. Moreover, there appears to be little or no evidence to support their volatile claims. Yet, they continue to pound the pavement and claim to be misrepresented. At best, they have come out as little more than politicians trying to cover their tracks. At worst, they are lying.
Where will it all go? The clock is ticking. The Israeli Attorney General isn’t backing down and there is no agreement anywhere in sight. There’s an old saying. Two Jews; three opinions. That’s the convoluted, lingering crisis hanging over Israel.
Netanyahu has gone from hero to legal system censurer. Rather than making Israel great, he has done the opposite. Irony or ironies, Washington has the same problem.
You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers