BibiWATCH was Israel's first political blog, published every Monday from 1996-1998.

August 05, 2006

Why I serve[d]

Ten years ago, I wrote an article for my web-based weekly newsletter BibiWATCH on the subject of my service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). My views have not changed in those years, and I reprint the article below.

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May 19, 2006

From BibiWATCH to the Blogosphere

[Editor's note: Several issues of BibiWATCH are now available once again to read on this blog. Click here.]

Palestinian suicide bombers attack Tel-Aviv. The Israeli government blames Hamas. As support within Israel for any kind of peace deal with the Palestinians withers, pundits write that the Oslo process is dead.

It is June 1996 and Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has just been elected Israel's Prime Minister.

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August 26, 1996

The Next War [12]

In Israel these days, everyone is talking about the next war.

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August 19, 1996

Back to the "Sealed Room": Some thoughts on the alternative to the peace process [11]

I had intended to write this column this week about the various scandals and foul-ups which have troubled the Netanyahu government in recent days. Lots of material was available.

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August 12, 1996

An Open Letter to David Levy [10]

The Honorable David Levy
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dear Sir:

When you established "Gesher" -- which calls itself a "national social movement" -- many thought that for the first time in many years we were seeing in this country a political movement based not on different positions vis a vis the Jewish-Arab conflict, nor on an ethnic or religious basis, but rather a movement based on social class. "Gesher" could have represented in Israeli politics what was once called "the working class" and today -- "the underprivileged".

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August 05, 1996

Back to the Future: If you liked 1991, you're in luck [9]

Remember the 1985 film "Back to the Future"? Of course you do. One of the charming elements of that movie was the recreation of an imaginary American town in the year 1955. It cost Hollywood millions of dollars and required the talents of experts -- but the new Israeli government has done far better than that. At far less cost and in less than two months, Prime Minister Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has created a nearly perfect replica of the Middle East in the fall of 1991.

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July 29, 1996

Simple Mathematics (Or: How to Bring Down the Netanyahu Government) [8]

A friend of mine on the Israeli Right recently asked me what seemed to him to be a tough question to answer: two months after winning the election, what terrible things has Netanyahu actually done? "Forget what he's said," my friend told me. "You point out one really bad thing that's happened."

So I mentioned Bibi's economic policies. And rested my case.

Continue reading "Simple Mathematics (Or: How to Bring Down the Netanyahu Government) [8]" »

July 22, 1996

Netanyahu's Secret Weapon, the Paralysis of the Opposition -- and the Way Out [7]

If I believed what I read in the newspapers, I'd be devoting this issue of BibiWATCH to the question of how the CIA kidnapped Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sometime during his visit to Washington, replacing him with a double -- which was exposed, of course, during last week's state visit to Cairo. (Egyptian President Mubarak was quoted as saying that the Netanyahu he met was a different man from the one who spoke to the U.S. Congress a week earlier.)

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July 15, 1996

Netanyahu to Congress: The Peace Process is Finished [6]

Prime Minister Netanyahu's most important statement of government policy regarding the peace process came, as expected, during his appearance before a joint session of the U.S. Congress last week. To the assembled elected representatives of the American people, Bibi proposed three "pillars of peace" -- which were received with more than a dozen ovations.

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July 08, 1996

The 7 Questions Larry King Should Have Asked [5]

Israel has a tradition that state visitors are taken to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial before they go anywhere else in the country. Before they speak to the assembled Knesset, before they visit the President's official residence in Jerusalem, even before they get to unpack their bags in the King David Hotel, they pay homage to the six million Jews whose murder is permanently bound up with the creation of the state of Israel.

State visitors to the United States, on the other hand, are required, upon their arrival in the country, to report to the CNN studios in Washington for an appearance on "Larry King Live". Because of the "special relationship" between Israel and America, our Prime Minister gets to make part of his state visit even before boarding Israel Air Force One; he paid a "virtual visit" to Larry King late last week.

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July 01, 1996

Bibi's Iranian Strategy [4]

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Israeli strategists came up with a great way to "sell Israel" to the American government. The Soviet Union, they argued, was turning the Middle East into a battleground of the Cold War. (I should point out that this was actually true.) Israel was the only pro-Western democracy in the region, and would gladly turn itself into the fifty-first state if only the U.S. would provide nearly unlimited arms and money.

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June 24, 1996

The First 100 Hours: It Begins . . . [3]

Bibi's government has been with us now for 100 hours. If allowed to complete its term in office, we have another 35,000 hours to go. Here's my list of disasters for the first hours; multiply this by 350 and you have an idea of what's ahead:

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June 17, 1996

Surprise! [2]

There's a recurring theme in letters I get from friends who, like me, hoped that Bibi Netanyahu would never be Israel's Prime Minister. Maybe he'll surprise us, they tell me. Maybe he'll "pull a Begin" and make peace with some hostile Arab neighbor. (CNN, which has apparently never heard of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, keeps asking interviewees if Netanyahu will "pull a Nixon.") .

Let's try to be realistic here. Of course Bibi is not going to do wonderful things. He is going to . . .

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June 10, 1996

Bibi's New Government [1]

By June 17th, we are promised, Israel is going to have a new government. That's the day the Knesset meets for the first time since the elections. Bibi doesn't have to put together a new government by that date -- he has more than 6 weeks to do this -- but he wants to hit the ground running.

Too bad.

When we look at the government that's shaping up, we want to tell Bibi: take your time. No need to rush into things. This kind of government can wait.

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