How Israelis came to worship leaders who despise them

February 28, 2020
Israelis used to admire leaders who went to war against Palestinians. Today they admire leaders who go to war against average Israelis.

Likud supporters seen at a party rally in Jerusalem ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 26, 2020

Orly Noy writes in +972 Magazine, February 27, 2020:

On Tuesday, Likud MK Sharren Haskel sparked controversy at an economic conference organized by the Kohelet Policy Forum, a far-right Israeli economic and political think tank.

During a panel on whether the Israeli government should subsidize factories in Israel’s poorer southern region, Haskel suggested that any worker who loses his or her job after being laid off from a shuttered factory should simply up and move to Tel Aviv. In the big city, Haskel claimed, the unemployed will be able to make a good living by washing dishes for NIS 12,000 ($3,500) a month.

Haskel’s remarks are a new low that reflect just how little wisdom is demanded of Israeli elected leaders today. They are also a testament to something far more dangerous: turning this disconnect from the Israeli public, with all its lack of inhibition and cruelty, into an ideology. Into something to take pride in.Haskel is not alone. The leaders of Likud, the party most often associated in Israeli political discourse as the party of the “common people,” and particularly lower class Mizrahim, has turned this contemptuous form of disconnect into its own statement of ethics. It is a leadership comprised of people such as Benjamin Netanyahu, a corrupt prime minister who enjoys a lavish life of cigars and champagne, and Nir Barkat — the richest politician in Israel who has no idea how much a loaf of bread or a carton of milk costs. Barkat is Netanyahu’s favorite for finance minister.

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