Netanyahu’s Fears for Israel’s Future

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

The future of the Zionist entity has always been raised among Jewish Israelis (and first of all by Christian and Moslem Arabs) since the Israeli state was established in 1948.  Although the end/demise of the ‘state’ is originally a religious and historical notion/ belief, yet no one in Israel likes to discuss the issue whenever it comes up especially in crises, as the case was in the wake of the six day June 1967 war. But the outcome of that war, and the humiliating Arab military defeat, led the anti-Israel Jewish thinker Yeshayhu Leibowitz to write that “on day seven after day six of the war, the end of Israel will come if it does not wake up”. Along the same context, following the 2006 war on Lebanon, the then Israeli opposition leader and the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that “the war brought back to Israel the question of existence after it was diminished by the June war”. He added: “questioning the possibility of Israel’s survival is no longer confined to its enemies but it has included its friends as well”.

Today, here is Netanyahu again facing the difficult questions of the future fate and the concerns and fears of many Israelis. Less than a month ago, during a ‘religious’ gathering in his official residence dedicated to raise the question of the future of Israel and the conditions of its survival-as if the question of its end has become a  public debate-, it was the Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular who compared the Zionist State to the Hashmonian Kingdom that was conquered by the Roman Empire in 63 BC, saying “for 80 years the Hashmoneans managed to get out of a very difficult situation … We have to pledge that Israel celebrate its centennial anniversary.”

But, in fact, where does the existential threat to Israel lie in a regional situation void of any real threat to it?  The threat may not be the case in the near future, but perhaps in the longer term, taking into account the recent report of Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) that “the region is changing not to our interest, especially with the growing Iranian threat in Syria”. It was followed by the chief of staff of Israel’s army Gadi Eizenkot saying: “the Syrian developments are very dangerous” and the statement of Israeli “defence” minister Avigdor Lieberman warning: “we are facing a Middle East that is much worse than the old Middle East”.

On a complementary level, Israel implicitly recognizes the failure of its plans to bring in the Jews of the world, as migration is an important contributor to the continuity of the Zionist State. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics confirmed that “for the first time since 2009, the number of those who left Israel was more than those who migrated to it”. According to its latest report: “In 2015, approximately 16,700 Israelis, most of whom were families, left Israel, while 8,500 Jews settled there”. While it is also important to refer to the current generation of Israelis who have realized the lies about the ‘promised land’ and the ‘chosen people’, Netanyahu’s statements can be seen as part of the psychological state of the Israeli society as a result of the wars in the region and the (relatively) bad economic situation, as well as the fact that he faces corruption charges (which may end his political life if they do not take him to prison). Perhaps the aim of these statements is to raise concerns by employing them, as usual, to serve his personal interests and to remain in power in any upcoming elections! In here, it is worth mentioning that Netanyahu has always presented himself as the one capable of ensuring Israel’s security at a time several analysts view his statements as part of the Israeli strategy that has always placed itself in an image of “a small country geographically surrounded by enemies threatening its existence” to gain the world’s sympathy and support.

An editorial in Haaretz commented on Netanyahu’s statements during the above-mentioned ‘Bible study’ session in his official residence that they “provide a look on his temperament as a leader appearing time and again that he is a pessimist, defensive and cautious, translated during the past years into a destructive Israeli policy; stubborn political rejection, refusal of the regional peace initiative, complete distrust of international agreements and links with reactionary powers”. “During his years in power”, Haaretz added, “Netanyahu did not lead towards complex alliances or exceptional military battles to ensure the state’s existence. His primary interest was to maintain the situation, preferring to ‘manage conflicts’ rather than solve them. His legacy is a negative one; he will do what is necessary to maintain his rule and prefers to be preoccupied with raising fear among his people.”

Despite the absence of a comprehensive national Palestinian project and a supportive Arab one, Israel has an increasing number of elements for its demise as a colonial/‘settlement’ and racist system of replacement, unethical and contrary to human existence values, being a functional military state living as a foreign body alien to its surrounding Arab region. It is a situation that keeps it in a state of extreme concern for its future, especially that security means to it, “absolute” security.