The Netanyahu-Eisenkot no-war tactics may be the PM’s winning card – even against probes

On Monday, Dec. 24, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took a big gamble by leading a unanimous coalition decision to call an early election on April 9. He could be crushed under the weight of multiple corruption probes, or he could sail through to his fourth term as head of government, breaking all records as Israel’s longest running prime minister with the highest number of wins at the polls. Opposition leaders were clearly bucked up by the coming contest. Zionist Union leader Avi Gabay said: “It’s a straight contest between Netanyahu and me.” Political commentators gave high ratings to Yair Lapid, as well as Education Minister Naftali Bennet, who failed to persuade Netanyahu to name him defense minister after Avigdor Lieberman quit, and the promising newcomer, former chief for of staff Benny Gantz.
However, the average Israel voter has most often been swayed by considerations of security when choosing his/her leaders. In recent security crises, Netanyahu has increasingly turned out to be of one mind with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot for driving a succession of crises away from major war confrontations into alternative channels. In this, he bucked his own hawkish Likud and the communities of Judea and Samaria. The Netanyahu-Eisenkot duo pair refrained from blocking these territories’ highways to Palestinian traffic, even after deadly drive-by shootings. They waved the Qatari dollars, derided as “protection,” through to the Hamas terrorist rulers of the Gaza Strip, instead of a routing them as demanded by Lieberman. And finally, Netanyahu as defense minister backed the chief of staff’s decision to go for Hizballah’s cross-border tunnels instead of its arsenal, knowing that Hizballah would weather the challenge unharmed and unbowed.

Both are criticized loud and often for using kid gloves against terrorists at the expense of the IDF’s deterrence and the country’s future safety. Nonetheless, Netanyahu broke with his natural political allies to stand foursquare behind the chief of staff. His secret? He had discovered in private opinion polls that 58 percent of the voting public were behind his policy of restraint.
Eisenkot retires next month. With campaigning in high gear, few will notice that his successor Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi will most likely continue his temperate tactics, especially under a re-elected Netanyahu, for as long as a full military confrontation can be avoided.   The Netanyahu-Eisenkot partnership has in some senses allowed a new political bloc to take shape, which better suits broad strata of the middle and upper classes than the existing polarizing party setup. Maybe this explains why the prime minister consistently tops all opinion polls as the favorite to succeed himself, notwithstanding more than two years of police investigations played up day by day by the media. The reporting on an early election was also admixed with claims that the prosecution was close to indictments. Even so, the squeaky clean Benny Gantz, while his debut on the political scene is rated high, falls short of a direct challenge to the ubiquitous Bibi. A large segment of the voting public appears more inclined to leave the country in the hands of a cautious prime minister, even if he is proved to be corrupt, and a less flamboyant army chief, who are intent on keeping the country clear of the loss of life and destruction inherent in major wars for as long as possible, while conducting controlled, covert operations against enemies. Therefore, Netanyahu felt able to launch his campaign with his usual confidence, especially after learning that the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit. had chosen to hold back on an indictment decision so as not to influence the election one way or another. Barring sudden national or security catastrophes, Netanyahu’s chances of staying in the prime minister’s residence are fairly good.

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16 thoughts on “The Netanyahu-Eisenkot no-war tactics may be the PM’s winning card – even against probes

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 9:33 at 9:33
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    So those Kalibr missiles on Russian ships in the Eastern Mediterranean have absolutely no contribution to making the ‘hot heads’ cool a bit? So when is the war against Iran starting? With a corrupt prime minister, who is not going to be indicted because this may influence the elections?

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 10:18 at 10:18
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      “So when is the war against Iran starting?”

      @ “clowns”,

      This quote from the Debka article should adequately answer your question, especially the very last 7 words:

      ” A large segment of the voting public appears more inclined to leave the country in the hands of a cautious prime minister, even if he is proved to be corrupt, and a less flamboyant army chief, who are intent on keeping the country clear of the loss of life and destruction inherent in major wars for as long as possible, while conducting controlled, covert operations against enemies.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 21:15 at 21:15
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      The Kalibr’s are nothing, it’s the tugboats accompanying the Admiral Kuznetsov that give Israelis nightmares.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 14:14 at 14:14
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    Nice.
    Peace.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 16:25 at 16:25
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    To be fair corrupt and graft in Israel has become ubiquitous that its not fair to hold Bibi to standards that the rest of the society are not adhering. So its very hypocritical and while i do despise Bibi its also the case of the devil you know.

    As an example of how hypocritical and politically motivated this is Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, who is responsible for the rabbinical courts, has reassigned a rabbinical court judge who was seeking to investigate irregularities and corruption in ultra-Orthodox nonprofit groups.

    According to people familiar with the issue, Lau yielded to pressure from parties with an interest in stopping the investigation launched by the judge, “dayan” in Hebrew, Rabbi Shlomo Shtasman. Rabbi Shimon Yaakobi, the rabbinical courts’ legal adviser, told Lau in a letter that Shtasman was even threatened by “people involved in the cases he was hearing.”

    Until last Thursday, Shtasman was director of the Jerusalem rabbinical court (beit din) for property trusts (hekdeshot) in Jerusalem. A hekdesh is a legal entity, usually dating back to the Ottoman era, that holds property designated for a specific purpose, like educational institutions or synagogues. At Lau’s request, Shtasman was reassigned to head the parallel court in Tel Aviv. At the heart of the story is a complex case of alleged corruption at one of the most well-known and wealthiest hekdeshot in Jerusalem, Etz Chaim.

    It reminds me in many ways to the Mueller Witch hunt though here at least Bibi does appear guilty but what he is accused of doing so bad “looking at the numbers” when this is how things are done in this part of the world.

    Compared to Erdogan and his family has stolen or the Clinton Foundation Pay for Play Bibi looks to be a veritable Saint.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 21:19 at 21:19
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      Compared to the bald midget who rules Moscow, all the names you mentioned look like saints.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 16:34 at 16:34
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    War will come, any time, soon or later. If “later”, Israel will have to face a nuclear Iran, more than 100.000 hostile troupes facing the Golan, 50.000 Hizballah fighter on the northern front, 10.000 Hamas fighters in the South, and may-be even some threat from Jordan.
    The “deal of the century” of Trump, is wishful thinking, the “new” Arab friends have different moral and different ethics that the Israelis, so war will have to be fought without help, as in 1967 and 1973.
    May G-D protect Eretz Israel and Jerusalem.
    May-be His hand will bring something new, but the future is bleak, Bibi or not Bibi.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 21:33 at 21:33
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      Most of those 100,000 troops are sandal-clad savages with almost no training, and no experience fighting a modern army. Of those who are well-trained, their equipment is second-rate and their aerial capabilities are a joke. No doubt they think very highly of themselves and might be stupid enough to start an all-out war, but it won’t go well for them if they do.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 21:41 at 21:41
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      Iran will be a glass skating rink before that happens. To think that Israel would not act to preempt an existential threat of the first order is delusioal.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 17:27 at 17:27
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    Pushing off the inevitable as your enemies get stronger- I good recipe for disaster.

    Buying peace in the short term will result in more deaths in the long term.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 19:04 at 19:04
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      Israel’s enemies are fighting each other while Israel is developing new weapon systems. Time is working for Israel.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 18:54 at 18:54
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    Interesting how both Bibi and Donnie switched to the same policies at exactly the same time, i.e. about 3 months ago. Few media outlets noticed because of the uproar about Khashoggi.
    Paying ransom to kidnappers may or may not save those who have just been kidnapped, but in the long run it emboldens and boosts the finances of the kidnappers to expand their business. Apart from the moral principles being assaulted here, at what point will buying all the terrorists off no longer work?

    I fail to see how Trump’s new policy of war-at-arms-length by his proxies (the Kurds, Al Nusra, Syrian Democratic Alliance etc) is going to stabilise Syria while he is encouraging more cooks to enter the kitchen cooking the broth inside Syria. What deal has he made with Turkey? For Turkey to take NW Syria as long as Turkey does not touch the Kurds? This same Turkey made huge profits by exporting Jihadis to Syria for ISIS and received ISIS-controlled oil and exported it from Turkey. So where is the lolly from Trump to leave the Kurds alone? It would have to be a massively lucrative deal for Turkey to lay off the Kurds. Likewise what is the advantage for Iraq to invade Syria up to 70 km? Any deals tempting Iraq to stop the co-operation with Iran and tempting the Turks to lay off the Kurds will have to be huge, massive and costly as well. What’s really in this pullback for the US, anyway, except for bringing back 2 000 soldiers and replacing them with costly merceneraries? With the US $21 trilllion in debt, and a possible recession on the way, my inclination is that when this house of cards falls the results will not be be pretty.

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 21:59 at 21:59
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    Reminds me of the same type of Saul-David Debates, Discussions, and Strategies between Ancient Israel Leaders over increasingly troubled relationship among the People of Israel on how to unite and prevent defeated enemies such as the Ammonites, Philistines, Moabites, and Amalekites from taking advantages over strategic policies? Israel is once again at the cross roads of disunity on how to provide protection and guidance to the nation. As War Clouds gathered on many over overstretched resources fronts of Tunnels from Lebanon, Golan Heights encroachments, Gaza protested Borders and West Bank embitter over Jerusalem.

    Just as more Middle East Confrontations in the current events happening in an ever disgruntle Iran, broken Iraq, rebuilding Syria, and menacing Turks, with the thirsts of Kurdish Independence among and against Israel’s Enemies and Allies. in an ever growing unstable Middle East among Global World shaken confidence. and Undermine Israel Protections. Israel’s Inner Political Strife became a concern of being over matched by the circumstances and personalities surrounding the Nation against bigger foes. As well as, with ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Revolutionary Guards, and Russian technology defending Allies if need be?

    Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu at the age of 69, serving as Prime Minister from 1996-1999 and 2009-18 Reign could be in jeopardy. If the Israeli People withdraw their favor over his avoiding major confrontations and conflicts policies. Verses the urge and rage of the Israeli People feeling a need for single victory response that could offset and cause more rage, discontent, and jealousy of such power not to be overrun.

    Once again, the only Democracy in the Middle East is facing how to unite and provide protection and guidance to the nation, by a growing over matched of circumstances and personalities surrounding the Leadership seeking the people’s blessing to establish a stable decision dynasty against Israel’s enemies. No one can destroy enemies except by making them friends, but that kind of forgiveness also annoys other enemies so much even if blessed with men and women of knowledge on how to walk an razor’s edge to reach out to enemies while upsetting his own friends at the unfortunate precise time to never interrupt other enemies when they are making a mistake as well? This is not happening just in Israel, but the entire Middle East among all their Leaders as well. It is a Samson and Goliath Confrontation, Saul and David Situation, with a World War I Dilemma between many of The Captains and Kings?

  • Dec 25, 2018 @ 22:14 at 22:14
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    Let’s all keep in mind the fact that Israel has somehow miraculously survived uncountable attacks over the years. Scuds in Tel Aviv, thousands of missiles in the North and South. How can it be over and over? Must be some kind of supernatural protection or something. I might suggest reading the Torah once or twice and even a skeptic might think twice.

    • Dec 25, 2018 @ 23:30 at 23:30
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      The only miracle Israel needed was to have more advanced training, tactics, industry and technology than its opponents, coupled with a stronger will to survive.

    • Dec 26, 2018 @ 7:34 at 7:34
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      Howard Jacobson…..Well said, and spot on about Judaism Persistence and Protection within its own Culture and extending it to Education and Charitable giving in the belief of One G-d for all of us.

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