Bibi Is Back
Bibi Is Back
It is common for elected leaders to conclude their time in power by leaving a personal note on the desk for the incoming leader. When Benjamin Netanyahu left Israel’s prime minister’s office to Naftali Bennett, his former ally who broke a campaign promise and sided with his opponents for the express purpose of dethroning him, he left such a note. Compared to other such notes, it was much pithier—and much more prophetic: three words in blue ink, above a doodle of the Israeli flag.
“Be right back!”
On Nov. 1, 2022, Israelis went to the polls for their fifth election in four years. Results in the previous four were inconclusive or produced weak coalitions that quickly dissolved. This time, the Netanyahu-led bloc won an outright majority of 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Four seats might seem like a thin majority, but at this time in Israel, it equates to a resounding victory.
With this governing majority, Netanyahu now has the opportunity to enact serious reforms that will stabilize and strengthen Israel. How did it happen? More importantly, why did it happen?
A Lucky Break?
The 64 seats won by Netanyahu’s coalition is a big jump from the 52 seats it won in the previous election. Why? It wasn’t simply a surge of support for the man or for the conservative and religious values he represents.
There is no proof that left-wing voters shifted to the right during this election. Instead, this election proved that Israel is a divided country with citizens fiercely loyal to their tribe. So vehement is the hatred of many toward Netanyahu that even after their side has failed repeatedly, they will not vote for him. On the other side, Likud voters believe Netanyahu is a godsend who can do no wrong and will vote for his governance no matter what, five times in four years if necessary. Ultraorthodox voters vote for the ultraorthodox parties. Israeli Arab voters largely vote for the Arab parties.
The politicians know this. Therefore, their campaigns focus less on persuading others to join their side than on simply getting the most people from their tribe to go vote. The leader who can persuade more of his followers to forgo the beach or Netflix and go vote has the best chance of winning.
Remarkably after so many elections, voter fatigue was not a factor: Over 7 in 10 Israelis voted in the November 1 election, up 4 percent from the previous election. The difference is that most of this increase came from areas with more right-wing voters.
All totaled, in this election the Netanyahu camp won 2.36 million votes, only 30,000 more than the opposing 2.33 million. So how did those 30,000 extra votes translate into the strongest government in 20 years?
This has to do with the “electoral threshold.”
Rather than a simple two-party system, Israel grows political parties like northern Israel grows bananas. New ones come up every season, even though they are largely a reconfiguration of previous parties. They have the same roots, the same political figures, but frequently rebrand to try to gain an edge. No fewer than 40 parties appeared on the 2022 ballot. Israel’s constitution says any party that reaches the threshold of 3.5 percent gets a parliamentary seat. When political parties fall short of the threshold, votes for it are effectively wasted, since those seats are redistributed to the successful parties.
Typically, when preelection polls show a party at or around the electoral threshold, there is a push to combine with a similar smaller party. For example, the Arab majority parties often form a “joint list” to ensure that no Arab vote is wasted. But in this election, the Arab parties refused to join, as did the two far-left parties (Labor and Meretz). Had these parties joined, the election and Israel’s current government would have been totally different. The leftist Meretz party and the Arab Balad party won 3.16 and 2.91 percent of the vote respectively. Thus 6 percent of the total Israeli vote, which would have gone against Netanyahu, did not count.
This made the critical difference between another stalemate election, and a dominant Netanyahu victory.
As it stands, Netanyahu is in power once again. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, he has four years to shape Israel’s future.
For Israel’s multiparty government system, a four-seat majority is significant. It allows the Netanyahu coalition the freedom to enact serious (and much-needed) reforms and provide respite from the country’s downward trend. And the right is calling for immediate change.
High on the agenda is the need for a far stronger response to the surging terrorist attacks emanating from the West Bank, where half a million Jews reside. Almost daily, shooting attacks, car rammings and attempted stabbings are taking place against Israeli border police or civilians. Leading this charge is the Religious Zionist party led by Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, whose constituents are largely comprised of the religious right. Both leaders have been absolutely demonized by the mainstream press.
The need for a reset of Arab-on-Jew crime is clear. In three days starting on election day, there was an attempted kidnapping by a terrorist, an attack on three soldiers near the Temple Mount, a car-ramming and a stabbing in Modi’in, a fatal shooting close to Hebron, and missiles fired from Gaza.
“We will do everything to establish a nationalist right-wing government, a government that will restore personal security, that will restore governability to the Negev and the Galilee, and will hold its head up high and not bow before threats” wrote Ben-Gvir in Israel Hayom after the election. “For too long, too many Israelis have been afraid of enemies from within and without. No more!” (Nov. 8, 2022). Such unabashed, straight-shooting rhetoric on security resonates with more Israelis than just the religious right. Most people can see the need for a more robust response.
However, the main policy objective that has leftists furious and worried is the legitimate need to overhaul Israel’s Supreme Court. For the past three decades, this court has increasingly filled with intellectual leftist elites who strike down government policy or even laws that passed the Knesset that don’t conform to their interpretation of their powers. (We wrote about the unchecked power of Israel’s rogue Supreme Court in the August 2020 issue.) This has been a subject of extreme consternation for the right for the past decade.
“In light of the nondemocratic, hyper-political legal fraternity that controls the levers of power in Israel,” Caroline Glick wrote, “the most urgent item on the incoming Netanyahu government’s agenda must be to reform the judicial system, including the state prosecution and the Attorney General’s office. Everything Netanyahu and his colleagues seek to achieve depends on it” (Jewish News Syndicate, November 4). As such, Israel’s new government will attempt to alter the Supreme Court by changing the way judges are elected.
Predictably, any change Netanyahu makes to curtail the Supreme Court’s considerable power provokes the mainstream media to scream that “democracy is dying.” A Haaretz editorial on election night encapsulated the left’s outrage: “Israel is now on the verge of a right-wing, religious, authoritarian revolution, whose goal is to decimate the democratic infrastructure on which the country was built. This may be a black day in Israel’s history.” Somehow, these writers forget that the democratic will is known through elections.
A Netanyahu government that restrains this bastion of leftist power could mean that the court undergoes fundamental changes that return power to the legislature.
Another priority for the new government will be ending the kow-towing to the United States government under Joe Biden (and Barack Obama). Contrary to the way Netanyahu led Israel during the dark days of the Obama presidency—where his number one foreign-policy goal was to protect Israel’s safety even if that meant going against Obama’s policies (including the Iran nuclear deal)—the government of Yair Lapid believed the U.S. must be placated at all costs, even if it jeopardized Israel’s future.
One example of this took place in the final days before the election. Biden’s regime pushed Lapid to make a deal with Lebanon regarding a demarcation line at sea between the two countries. Lebanon is dominated by Hezbollah, which takes its orders directly from Iran (which receives strong support from Obama and Biden).
The Trump administration had tried to settle the maritime dispute by giving Israel and Lebanon each about half of the access to a natural gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon rejected this offer. Yet in the two months before the election, Biden’s operatives forced Israel to give up its claim to control any of the gas field. Iran’s ally got 100 percent control.
Though Israel’s elites in the media peddled the deal as a win, the public was infuriated. Netanyahu has vowed to immediately retract the deal when he takes office.
Put together, strengthening internal security, restoring power over the Supreme Court to the people, and putting Israel’s national interests first, even if it means standing up to a hostile American ally, all point toward a coming period of stability for Israel. While the minority of the left may complain, the majority of Israelis (even many who voted against Netanyahu) will be grateful for the change.
Israeli Resurgence Prophesied
Given the opportunity for such significant changes for Israel under Netanyahu’s leadership, it is astounding to consider how close this election was. If Meretz and Labor had joined forces before the election, and if the Arabs had formed a joint list, Netanyahu would not have won the election. It would have been a stalemate at best. Because they didn’t, Netanyahu now has the chance to lead the strongest, most stable conservative government in his era. The anti-Netanyahu camp is kicking itself for its oversight.
Yet perhaps this was not just an oversight. Perhaps there was more behind this election result in Israel.
The September 2022 Trumpet cover story by editor in chief Gerald Flurry was titled “Britain’s and Judah’s Governments Fall—America Next?” The article centers on two main prophecies that link the political futures of all three nations. Mr. Flurry wrote that, based on a prophecy in Hosea, all three nations are destined to finally fall into catastrophic calamity together, during a period the Bible calls “Jacob’s trouble.”
However, another prophecy highlighted in that article details upcoming events before that trouble. Based on a prophecy in 2 Kings 14, Mr. Flurry wrote that President Trump is typed by ancient King Jeroboam ii, who ruled the northern tribes of Israel during a period of economic boom. After Jeroboam’s reign, Israel’s internal divisions tore apart the nation, making it vulnerable to impending Assyrian captivity. Based on this prophecy and one recorded in Amos, Mr. Flurry forecast as soon as President Trump was removed from office that he would once again assume the presidency. Once he does, Mr. Trump will lead a dramatic, yet temporary, resurgence in the United States’ power. This will give America one last chance to heed God’s warning before “Jacob’s trouble.”
Yet this prophecy isn’t just about the United States.
2 Kings 14:28 states: “Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” As Mr. Flurry noted in his article, “This verse ties the politics of the U.S. and Judah together.”
This is also confirmed by what took place anciently. Jeroboam ii had an unusually close alliance with the Jewish king ruling from Jerusalem, King Uzziah. Both kings worked together, which was far from the normal state of affairs between the two kingdoms. A period of national power stabilized both nations. Clearly, the modern counterpart of this relationship was on display during President Trump’s first term while Netanyahu was in power.
In his new autobiography, Bibi: My Story, Netanyahu confirms this unusually close relationship, writing, “Despite bumps in the road, our years together were the best ever for the Israeli-American alliance …. They showed the world that great things happen when an American president and an Israeli prime minister work in tandem, with no daylight between them.”
Trump and Netanyahu worked together during the president’s first term. And since President Trump is prophesied to return to office, was it God’s will also that Mr. Netanyahu would once again lead the Jewish state?
The closeness of the Israeli election compared to how massive the gain in power was for Netanyahu shows how God’s hand can influence the outcomes of elections, even in a fractious and divided country such as Israel or the United States. And as the Bible links America and Israel in a special way, is Netanyahu’s election a harbinger of things to come in the United States? Indeed, this is exactly what God prophesies will happen.
It is critical you read these prophecies before they happen. You will realize that you are seeing God’s active hand in world events. It will also show you what is next and what you can do to stabilize your life in such uncertain times.