The true believers and Netanyahu

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SADLY, IN Israel, we have no diversity in our media and therefore, we have no public debate. The Pravda-like uniformity of the Israeli media was nowhere more apparent than in its coverage of Binyamin Netanyahu's press conference on Tuesday, where he announced his candidacy for leadership of the Likud Party against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Wednesday morning's headlines screamed out against the man the media elite wish the Israeli public to view as a demonic usurper. Yediot Ahronot published the results of a bizarre poll on its front page claiming that Sharon was ahead of Netanyahu by 31 points. The poll's oddity stems from its irrelevance. In Israel the prime minister is not directly elected. Unless Sharon leaves the Likud, where Netanyahu enjoys a firm and large margin of support over Sharon, the two will not compete in national elections. Aside from that, the poll's questions ignored the fact that Israel is a democracy and in a democracy, elections are a natural and wholly legitimate process. The first question put to the sample population is a case in point. It asked, "Do you think that the Likud ought to begin a process of dismissing Ariel Sharon?" That question, like the media's uniform portrayal of the call for new elections as an illegitimate usurpation of power, exposed its author's abject refusal to accept the plain fact that a call for new elections is not a coup d'etat. Rather, it is a wholly legitimate action in a parliamentary democracy when a political leader has lost the support of his party. The repeated, distorted polls are geared toward creating a sense among the general public that we have nowhere to turn except to Sharon and his friends on the Left. This attempt to demoralize the public is backed up by the lead columnists and political reporters in all the major newspapers and electronic media outlets who have taken it upon themselves to convince the Israeli public that Netanyahu – is their enemy. As Maariv's Ben Caspit hinted on the front page of his paper's edition on Wednesday, a vote for Netanyahu is a vote for supposedly primitive gorillas who sell vegetables in the shuk. How unaesthetic. Who would want to support the leader of a group of gorillas? Yet in all the column space devoted in the papers to demonizing Netanyahu and his supporters, one thing was brazenly absent. No attention whatsoever was paid to the points he made in his presentation on Tuesday. Netanyahu spoke at length about the lack of public debate in Israel over the most pressing issues of our times. He spoke in detail about the need to restore responsibility for Israel's security to the army rather than to the Palestinian militias and the Egyptian military. Perhaps most significantly, Netanyahu stated flatly, and for the first time since last week's expulsions, the truth that the monolithic Israeli press in its babbling leftist bubble and their champion Sharon has refused to admit: The State of Palestine was established last week in Gaza. Both the media and Sharon today speak openly of further expulsions of law-abiding Israeli citizens from their homes in Judea and Samaria and of the need for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The general sense being propagated by the likes of Nahum Barnea in Yediot Ahronot and Yoel Marcus in Haaretz is that anyone who doesn't support continued land giveaways and expulsions of Jews for the benefit of the PLO is an extremist. The pathetic aspect of the enduring insistence of the Left that a Palestinian state can only be established after Israel has ceded all of Gaza, Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem to the PLO is that for the past 12 years its leaders – from Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin to Ehud Barak and now Sharon – have ignored the plain fact that the Palestinians themselves have expressed no interest in establishing Palestine. The Left has taken to shooting every messenger who tells them this unpleasant truth, [that their goal is to liberate Palestine – that is, to destroy Israel] a truth which lays bare the lie at the foundation of their messianic faith in the god of peace in our time. Netanyahu, for these true believers, is the ultimate messenger and thus the ultimate enemy.

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