Being in Israel in the days just after the national elections didn’t leave me any clearer on what the next government will look like. It could be a narrow right-tilted coalition led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, or a broader coalition anchored by Likud and Kadima, the party with the most votes.
Netanyahu most probably would be prime minister in that case, too.
Does the resumption this week of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, in violation of the fragile and unofficial truce between Hamas and Jerusalem, signal a Hamas endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu for Israeli prime minister?
That’s the likely effect of renewed attacks on Israel on the eve of next Tuesday’s national elections. The rockets underscore that despite the beating Hamas took last month, the terror group still rules Gaza and can still make life miserable for Israelis, especially those living in the south.
How ironic that the legendary British Broadcasting Corporation, reviled by many pro-Israel supporters for being so decidedly un-pro-Israel in its coverage, is being pilloried at home for refusing to air a three-minute appeal for young victims of the Gaza conflict.
Thousands of demonstrators rallied in London, and more than 11,000 complaints were filed with the publicly financed BBC after it explained the decision not to show the appeal, based on its goal of maintaining impartiality in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Few can watch the footage of Palestinian suffering in Gaza these days without feeling great sadness and empathy. But while some of us blame the cynicism and brutality of Hamas for purposely putting civilians in harm’s way as part of its strategy, appealing to the world to stop Israel in its tracks, others blame Israel without considering the context – or worse yet, are convinced that Israel is the aggressor here, not an independent state fighting terrorist thugs whose sole purpose is to destroy it, and Jews everywhere.
I’ve long defended the New York Times against critics who insist the paper has an inherent bias in its coverage of the Middle East and the Jewish community. But an item in today’s City Room column in the New York section made me a bit queasy.
Much has been made among the rabbis over the centuries as to why Sukkot takes place at this time of year. And the lesson is a particularly timely one now, in the face of an international economic crisis that has made each of us feel more vulnerable.