Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected as Prime Minister of Israel yesterday. His victory was much narrower than expected however and pundits are seeing the vote as a repudiation of his policies.
They’re both right and wrong.
Its his domestic policies which have been repudiated, not his foreign, defense and national security ones, and this is a distinction which must be understood and drawn. Domestic issues such as the high cost of living, the affordability of housing, the influence of the ultra-orthodox in general and their refusal to serve in the military in particular dominated the discourse and were what the election was all about. His foreign, defense and national security policies hardly entered into the discourse at all and when they did Israelis clearly said that they were generally satisfied with his performance in these areas. They weren’t satisfied with his domestic policies though and made it very clear in the election that they were voting for change domestically. That was the electorates message and the new coalition government that Netanyahu forms will have to institute domestic reforms if it wishes to survive.
Which it will.
The election results were very positive for Israel. Her foreign, defense and national security policies will remain untouched and very robust and the priorities, activities and potential activities in these areas will stay the same. They have essentially been approved and endorsed by the electorate. At the same time there will be much needed domestic reforms and the country will be stronger and less divided as a result. In returning Netanyahu to office they put a Prime Minister in place with the skill, judgement, experience, leadership ability and perseverance to both protect the country and make the desired changes.
Which he will.
Israelis returned a very strong, capable Prime Minister to office, essentially approved and endorsed his foreign, defense and national security policies, told him to get on with the job domestically and put him on a short leash.
A good job all around.