Both videos are important viewing, not only in themselves but because they illustrate a broader, even more important point: Israel suffers today from a leadership that has no ability to articulate a sense of vision to the world, even while engaged in an existential war that depends in significant part on a battle for world opinion.
The potential leadership is there, waiting in the wings. Nearly a year ago, Netanyahu outlined the stakes and the need for action in a conference call with bloggers, worth re-reviewing in light of what has happened since.
In an important column earlier this week (“Welcome Back, Netanyahu”), Hillel Halkin wrote that the test of
Today, the polls show [Likud] bouncing back to its 2005 strength and Mr. Netanyahu as the first choice of nearly 40% of
's electorate. Israel
This comeback is even more remarkable in view of the fact that neither Mr. Netanyahu nor the Likud have been particularly active on the parliamentary or national scenes over the past year and have on the whole kept a rather low profile.
The Likud, and Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, have rebounded spectacularly in Israeli popular opinion because they have proved to be right on two major issues.
One of these is the economy. During Mr. Netanyahu's three years as minister of finance between 2002 and 2005 . . . it was not yet clear what the outcome of his policies would be. Today, it is -- and they have been, if anything, an even more spectacular success than Mr. Netanyahu predicted they would be. . . . [I]t is hard for Israelis to deny that Mr. Netanyahu, whatever his faults, was one of the best finance ministers -- perhaps the best -- that
ever had. Israel
The second issue is the disengagement from
in the summer of 2005. . . .Those who were for it, like myself, were wrong. Those who were against it, like Mr. Netanyahu, were right. Gaza
. . . The facts speak for themselves. At great economic cost and at the price of a deep inner rift in Israeli society that still has not healed, 8,000 Jewish settlers were uprooted from their homes in return for supposed benefits, none of which has materialized. . . .
The Benjamin Netanyahu who more or less predicted all this looks a lot better today than he did two years ago . . . It's no wonder that a large part of the Israeli public is today willing to give him another chance. Ami Ayalon or Ehud Barak's future leadership of the Labor Party will be judged to a great extent by whether they will be willing to let that public have its say.