April 3, 2019


Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel what Donald Trump is to America.

He is a polarizing prime minister who is much-loved but equally much-hated, who has been facing indictment after a 2-year investigation for using his office for personal and political gain, who derides "fake news," who is using the anti-Arab "racial card, " and who is escalating hostilities with Hamas to create paranoia. All done to keep his Knesset majority coalition in the April 9 election.

Israel is the homeland "only of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said in the election run-up, claiming that Israel is "being held hostage by Hamas," who are retaliating with rocket bombardments after Netanyahu's assertion of Israeli "sovereignty" over Golan Heights.

What better way to win an election than to stir up geographic, religious and racial animosities, and to escalate the never-ending military hostilities? Paranoia is the name of the game. Israel has a population of about 9 million people, of which about 1.8 million are Arabs, or 20 percent. That sector is growing more rapidly than the Jewish population. And Israel is surrounded by 50 million Arabs, both Muslims and Christians.

Netanyahu's right-center Knesset coalition crumbled over the issue of mandatory "universal (military) service" for ultra-Orthodox Jews.

They comprise about 10 percent of the population while all around them are millions of Koran devotees who don't recognize Israel's right-to-exist.

But the ultra-Orthodox Jews are a critical political force in the Knesset, number half of Netanyahu's Likud Party, and will never surrender their elitist privileges.

Israel has a multi-party system, presently 47, with the vote for each party entitling them to proportionate representation in the Knesset, numbering 17. The current rightist factions include Likud, Jewish Home, Shas, Yisrael, Meretz, and the leftist faction is the Blue and White Party. It charges that Netanyahu has "forsaken the security" of Israel. There is also a Joint List party. Whoever puts together a majority coalition gets to form a government, which Netanyahu has done and led since 2009.

The portent and subtext of the April 9 vote is that if the mainline leftist parties aggregate 30 to 35 percent of the 120 Knesset seats, they could form a majority coalition with the Arabs who want to end systemic discrimination and second-class citizenship and the ultra-Orthodox Jews who want to maintain their benefits, and thereby oust Netanyahu. And you thought American politics was complicated.

Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009, and before that from 1996 to 1999. The great conundrum for Israeli liberals is how to be for peace without being perceived as an appeaser.
Being an Israeli warmonger has no political downside, as Netanyahu and his Likud predecessors have proven. His governing majority is 61-59.

It has long been said that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, and Netanyahu's ethical and legal predicament makes Trump's Russian probe problems pale by comparison. Netanyahu is facing indictment by the Israeli attorney general for bribery, breach of trust and fraud, all crimes of moral turpitude, including (1) arranging regulatory concessions to telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable website coverage; (2) enacting legislation harmful to one publication in exchange for favorable coverage from another publication; and (3) accepting gifts and cash in exchange for political favors. Netanyahu is the leader of a coalition, so there is no impeachment-like process. After indictment, Netanyahu has an opportunity to testify in rebuttal, and the attorney general then decides to withdraw or formalize the indictment. This could take 4 to 6 months. If a trial is ordered and conviction rendered, Netanyahu would be jailed, but his Likud-led coalition would stay in power.

Netanyahu's xenophobic assertion that Israel is for "Jewish people alone" does not comport with the history of the Middle East, an area alternatively known as the Holy Land, Canaan, Zion and South Syria, and regarded as Palestine until 1947, and geographically as the Southern Levant.

Much mythology surrounds Mesopotamia, founded around 4000 B.C., the accepted "cradle of civilization," located in the valley between the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It contained the cities of Sumer and Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, considered to be the founder of the Jewish religion. Every year in B.C. the rivers would flood, and it is a historical fact that a massive flood inundated the Land of Sumer around 4100 B.C., creating the Noah's Ark legend.

Meanwhile, to the south, an Egyptian civilization surfaced around 3150 B.C., with an Old Kingdom comprised of both Upper and Lower Egypt, situated along the River Nile. The Kingdom was overthrown in 1786 B.C. by the Hyksos, a nomadic Semitic tribe of Asiatic origin who were known as Habiru, as they spoke in a language now referred to as Hebrew. They settled in the area, multiplied, and took over. The Hyksos were then ousted in 1562 B.C., causing mass persecution, deportation and genocide by the Egyptian New Kingdom for a century. The exiled Habiru moved northward, into the Land of Canaan (Jerusalem) and Land of Sumer. The Biblical Exodus led by Moses, the adopted son of pharaoh Ramases ii, occurred during 1450-1500 B.C., but the 600,000 (a factual impossibility, as that was a third of Egypt's population) "chosen people" did not "wander in the wilderness" for 40 years, but went straight to Sinai and, as related in the Old Testament, exterminated the Canaanites. The so-called 12 Tribes of Israel - of which Judah, Benjamin, Levi and Simeon were the most powerful - seized and carved-up the "promised land." They ruled for five centuries.

Abraham left Ur in 1780 B.C., traveled to Egypt, thence to Sinai, with his "personal God," Yahweh, who evolved into the Habiru/ Jewish God in the Old Testament, written in 250 B.C. The first King of Israel was Saul in 1020, then David in 1002 B.C., then Solomon, who built Solomon's Temple to Yahweh in 972 B.C.

The line of David continued until the neo-Assyrians conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C., and exiled all Jews to Babylon. Alexander the Great conquered Jerusalem in 330 B.C., making it part of the Roman Empire; then came the Selencids in 219 B.C., then the Jewish Hasmoneans in 116 B.C., then the Romans annexed the Hasmoneans and created the province of Judea in 6 B.C., the year that Yehoshua, was born. Since Romans were pagans, those indigenous to Judea worshiped Yahweh, known as Judaism, and they were known as Jews.

Jesus was crucified in around 33 A.D., and it is noteworthy that crucifixion was Rome's punishment for political dissenters, while stoning was the Sanhedrin's (Jewish Council) punishment for religious deviation. Political dissent continued after Jesus' death (which revisionists dispute as a hoax), led by brother James. The revolt of 66-70 A.D., and Rome's genocidal response, virtually wiped out Judea's Jewish population, either through exile or execution. The exiles migrated west to Greece and what is now known as Germany and France.
Several books, including "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, and the "Hiram Key" by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas posit that the Holy Grail is not a chalice but a bloodline, and that a non-crucified Jesus and wife Mary Magdalene (and family) settled in southeastern France, being the seed of David, and that the subsequent Merovingian dynasty and bloodline makes them the "King of the Jews."

Subsequent to the failed revolt, Rome ruled the Holy Land until 661 A.D, and then the Caliphate Umayyad Cul until 969 A.D, then the Fatimids until 1073 A.D., then the Seijuq Turks until the First Crusade captured the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099, and the Knights Templar began digging in Solomon's Temple, allegedly finding evidence of Jesus bloodline and non-resurrection. Saladin retook Jerusalem in 1187 for the Ayyubid Sultanate, then the Asian Mongols conquered Ayyubid, then the Egyptian Mumluk Sultanate took over in 1260, then the Ottoman Turks in 1516, then Egypt in 1832, then back to the Ottomans in 1840. They then allowed a British protectorate of Palestine. In the late 1800s a Zionist movement began to return Palestine to the Jews, and the 1917 Balfour Declaration made Palestine the "national homeland" of the Jews. There was an abortive Arab revolt during 1936-39.

The United Nations in May 1948 partitioned Palestine into separate Israeli and Arab states, prompting the exodus of 700,000 Arabs from Israel to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Several wars ensued, with Israel always triumphing. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1965, and the Palestine National Authority was created in 1993 by the Oslo Accords to govern it on an interim basis. It still does, 26 years later, because Israel does not want an Arab/Muslim nation with a foreign policy and military presence next to it.

Likud will keep its Knesset majority on April 9, but Netanyahu will be gone by the end of the year.