EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Israeli Left’s obsession with toppling PM Benjamin Netanyahu has driven it to embrace a military “dream team” bent on overthrowing a civilian ruling party. This echoes the all-too-common phenomenon of Third World military juntas seizing power to “save the nation” from “corrupt politicians.” Generals brought to power as “national saviors” in times of deep crisis have often been the harbingers of populism, authoritarianism, and fascism.
In all recent Israeli election campaigns, the sociopolitical identity of the candidates for national leadership was a central question. Who were they? Who were their business associates? For which tycoons had they worked in the past? Above all: what values and ideals did they bring to the political arena? These discussions took place mainly on the left side of the political map, resulting in an obsessive self-righteousness that has come to be seen as the left’s main source of alienation from the wider Israeli public.
What criticism has not yet been leveled at Yair Lapid and his centrist Yesh Atid party? They are called mere puppets who are promoting the “piggish capitalist” agenda (to use Shimon Peres’s phrase) of greedy tycoons. Lapid is labeled a pale imitation of Netanyahu in both form and substance. What hasn’t been said by security-oriented leftists about Labor’s new identity? It is accused of having become a boutique party of feminists, journalists, and civil activists who have introduced postmodern language into the political discourse, and – most damningly – that its leadership is bereft of generals, security personnel, and industrial and agricultural captains. How can those “kids” possibly aspire to running the country?