João Lemos Esteves is a lecturer in the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon and a contributor to two major Portuguese newspapers.
Who will be the winner in the repeat election?
One thing is for sure: The many problems of democracy are still preferable to the few (if any!) advantages of nondemocratic regimes.
Spoiler alert: The answer to the question in the title of this article is, from our perspective, quite clear – Israel will be the unequivocal winner of the ongoing electoral process. However, dear reader, please do not stop reading. Don’t lose interest. More important than identifying the clear winner is the discussion about what is at stake on this super-decisive Tuesday.
Why is Israel the unequivocal winner?
Because the Israeli people will show once again, to the entire world, that it is the most perfect democracy in the most imperfect, undemocratic and problematic region of the globe. Every democracy on earth has problems, such as the deficient (if not vicious) relationship between voters and their representatives and the lack of political mechanisms to challenge and defy an establishment whose power comes at the expense of the people. The political problems of modern democracies are too numerous to enumerate here in this article – my first contribution to Israel Hayom.
One thing is for sure: The many problems of democracy are still preferable to the few (if any!) advantages of nondemocratic regimes. And by “nondemocratic regime,” I am not referring to the most barbaric political experiences of the past, from the diabolical authoritarian regimes of the first half of the 20th century in the heart of Europe to the murderous communist regimes that savaged so many countries throughout the world.
I am referring instead to those regimes (and consequently, states) that have embraced the politics of complete surrender to the intellectual, political and social dictatorship of far-left political correctness. This kind of inorganic dictatorship usually comes with a nice face, a beautiful package and a colorful ribbon upon it, but it is not less lethal and dangerous than the traditional forms of radicalism and totalitarianism. Many examples of the threats to democratic societies posed by these new groups, radical social movements, and protest professionals (think about Antifa in the US) could be pointed out here. Don’t forget that these groups picked as their role models the states dominated by radical Islamic terrorism, much like the vicious and despicable far-right, nondemocratic, and racist marginal groups in Europe and the US. If this is not enough to dissuade people – especially youth – from joining such groups, then we, as a society and as humans, should be very worried about our immediate future.
Israel – as a country with a strong, resilient and brave people – will be the winner because the electorate will respond positively to the second call to vote in such a short period of time. Unlike many of my Israeli friends and highly respected political analysts, I believe that when the turnout rate is measured, we’ll find that the Israeli people did not stay at home, watching the future of the country being written by others.
It’s true that one can feel palpable electoral fatigue in the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, and pretty much every corner of this amazing country. However, the fatigue from listening to unstoppable electoral speeches and interviews with politicians (a professional class that is, let’s face it, not so adored by these days) may be a catalyst leading to massive voting today. I hope so. It would bring tremendous honor to Israel’s democracy.
So, dear reader, as much as I love your attention and kindness for reading this article, if you haven’t yet voted, please run now to do so!
And the mobilization of the electorate may very well culminate in polarization between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz: The perception that this is a battle for the premiership will most likely potentiate the concentration of votes in either candidate. You may object that the polls indicate the opposite, but my confidence in polls was shaken dramatically over the last few years (remember President Hillary Clinton?).
Having this said, I will not pass over the $1 million question: Which political reality will emerge from the vote tonight (or tomorrow, or in the coming days…)? I believe that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to head the Israeli government. This is for a number of reasons, including (1) the relative activism and loyalty of his base compared to that of the other side; (2) Gantz’s gradual loss of momentum; and (3) the fact that the right-wing parties – led by the powerful and brilliant Ayelet Shaked – will not be anxious to hand power over to the Left on a silver platter. I am not ignoring things that have been said during the campaign, but Wednesday is a new day. And Gen. Gantz – who at his core is no leftist – would be an incredible and highly respected defense minister in a Likud-led government.
I conclude as I started. The winner today is Israel.
While in Lebanon, Hezbollah is subjugating its people through fear and terror, brainwashing them against Israel and the West, and feeding international terrorism, the Israeli people are voting in a tolerant, pluralistic, and fair democratic process.
While Iran of the despicable ayatollahs is pretending – laughing in our faces! – that the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s refineries are Yemen’s fault (!) and will continue to export its special kind of international terrorism, Israel is showing, one more time, how a free and democratic society works.
Contrary to what the Left preaches in Europe and now, unfortunately, in the US, there is no moral equivalence between Israel and its neighbors. We will always stand with Israel because we will always stand for liberty and democracy.
Today, a great new chapter for the great State of Israel is starting. As its national anthem says, our hope is not lost!
João Lemos Esteves wrote this article following a visit to Israel under the auspices of B’nai B’rith