March 23, 2020
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 LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
I promise to write nothing about the coronavirus. You can’t turn on the TV without being inundated with that story. I promise none of that this week!
The headline in The Jerusalem Post was “KING BIBI, THE MAGICIAN.” While Netanyahu doesn’t have a coalition in the bag, he seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
Having served as Prime Minister for 14 years and just two weeks before trial on bribery and breach of trust charges, he eked out a few seats in the Knesset giving him another shot at forming a government.
The biggest boast to his attempt to stay in office now turns out to be the coronavirus scourge. (Oops! I broke my promise.) While there is still a political impasse, Netanyahu is calling for an emergency coalition government, leaving his political opponent Mr. Gantz little room to do much more than cooperate. This clever manipulation would push the government more toward Netanyahu’s control.
While most of Israel thought that he was down and out, this rapidly spreading illness has actually brought him back to life. Netanyahu reached into an empty hat and pulled out a new angle on staying in office.
Netanyahu stated that this would only be an emergency government for a limited time. Gantz has not responded to the idea, but the leader of the Blue and White party said he would be willing to discuss the idea. These gyrations showcase Netanyahu’s skills as a leader. It puts him in the driver’s seat to lock-down the country if the disease continues to spread. The self-imposed quarantine means that all contacts with other foreign leaders would be by video or telephone.
The political advantage to Netayahu is that it showcases him. While some leaders say he’s doing way too much, no one can claim he’s not doing anything. Critics accuse him of exploiting the problem for political gain. If they like him, he’s a genius. If they don’t, he’s a fraud.
The political situation in Israel continues to be more intriguing than those old Saturday afternoon movie serials. Can the hero win? The villain be caught? Keep showing up at the box office for more exciting adventures.
Now here’s something you really can sink your teeth into! I have a new book just out.
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA has been proclaimed as an unforgettable firsthand account of the Pacific’s war’s greatest Battle. The book has been released by Harper-Collins under the name of Col Art Shaw and Robert L. Wise. You’ll find it to be a great diversion during this virus crisis.
You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.
You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers