As a clearly frustrated and beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel confronts the challenge of waging yet another campaign to solidify his political power in the sovereign State of Israel, he can now utilize this time to reflect on the shortcomings and failures of the last government while beginning to generate ideas for improvement.
Edited by: JV Staff
After a thorough review, it appears that a reshuffling of sorts of the Netanyahu cabinet is in order.
Let’s begin this critique by addressing the abysmal failure of the government of Israel to launch an effective campaign targeting the pernicious propaganda of the BDS movement. Currently, the person in charge of orchestrating an ostensibly well-researched agenda for confronting the odious Jew haters in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is Likud MK, Gilad Erdan. Mr. Erdan has been charged with the ministerial portfolio of “Public Security, Information and Strategic Affairs.” As minister of information, we can deduce that this position was created for the express purpose of countering the incessant waves of disinformation that is spewed forth by the international BDS movement on a daily basis.
With a budget exceeding $16 million, we are in a quandary as to why Mr. Erdan has not made any significant headway in diminishing the deleterious impact that the BDS movement has done to Israel’s image. We understand that Mr. Erdan is focused on public security issues in terms of maintaining the safety of Jews residing in Judea and Samaria, however, we must take Erdan to task for the feckless modalities that he has initiated to quash the BDS agenda.
To date, the BDS movement has picked up immeasurable steam and have spread their mendacious tentacles to the four corners of the earth. The exceptionally well-funded BDS movement has successfully silenced pro-Israel supporters on every major college and university across the country and throughout the world. Celebrity endorsers and proponents of BDS has seen major victory on the cultural and academic front, thus isolating Israel in important spheres around the globe.
If Mr. Erdan finds himself way too overwhelmed to burnish Israel’s image through a sleek and relatable way of dealing with the BDS movement, then it is our recommendation that a well-qualified replacement candidate be seriously considered.
On Monday, June 3rd, it was reported in the Times of Israel that Netanyahu is pushing for Erdan to serve as Israel’s next ambassador to the United Nations. Erdan would replace the current Israeli UN ambassador to the US Danny Danon, whose term ends in a few weeks.
The Times of Israel reported that the UN posting is “often seen as a mission impossible job in a hostile environment, where Israel is constantly attacked diplomatically. The job has in the past been held by Netanyahu, who represented Israel at the world body from 1984 to 1988, before being elected to the Knesset that year and becoming prime minister in 1996.”
Speaking about UN Ambassador Danny Danon, while some have heaped praise on his efforts to protect Israel from constant condemnations at the UN and to establish a respect for Israel that none had previously shown in the tendentious climate of the UN, it appears that Danon as well has fallen way short of the mark in terms of what was expected of him. Danon has also been quite negligent in his obligations to reach out to the Jewish media in the New York City and beyond and trying to establish solid connections to effectuate excellent communications between the Israeli mission to the UN and to the media that broadcasts and amplifies his messages.
Danon’s predecessors at this panoply of nations included such historic diplomatic voices as the legendary Abba Eban and such diplomatic luminaries as Ron Prosor. Let’s face facts. Danon is not and never was cut out for this job. His heavily and almost indiscernible English accompanied by his heavy handed manner are distinct liabilities. Thankfully his term is reaching a conclusion.
On to bigger fish to fry.
As history has illustrated more than amply throughout the years, Israel has morphed into one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. Periodically, press releases are issued by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in which they boast that the percentage of foreign tourists coming to the holy land has increased dramatically and that the tourism scene has virtually exploded with millions flocking to its shores. This all may ring true, however, Israel is nowhere in the vicinity of representing the tourist destination that they have the potential to be.
It is noteworthy to mention that Paris receives 50 million tourists a year while New York City attracts approximately 60 million tourists per annum. And the list goes on. Let’s take Europe for example. With 300 million people, surely there are innumerable ways to interest the vast majority of them to visit the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem as well as taking part in excursions that will introduce them to Israel’s more modern cities.
We sadly must conclude that current Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin does little to reach out to his greatest and most powerful allies; namely diaspora Jewish publications. In the case of the Jewish Voice, each week we run approximately two full pages dedicated to travel related matters. Predictably, we run articles about Israeli tourism such as guides to the best hotels, restaurants, bars, amusement parks, personalized tours, sporting and cultural events, etc. For both the religious and non-religious tourist, we offer articles that appeal to their specified needs.
We suggest that the prime minister consider his options and perhaps seek others who can and will make record breaking tourism statistics their main concern.
One of the most important functions of the State of Israel is to promote aliya (immigration and absorption of new immigrants) in order to provide not only a safe haven for Jews from their countries of origin where they are persecuted, but to attract Jews the world over to make Israel their home. Since the inception of the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency has been assigned with the task of bringing Jews living under oppression back to their ancestral homeland.
In the nascent days of the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency may have been in the forefront of facilitating methods to bring Jews to Israel and in creating successful campaigns that would strongly encourage and promote aliya.
Tragically, that is no longer the case. For decades now, the Jewish Agency has been nothing short of moribund in its activity level. Under the leadership of former Soviet Jewish refusenik Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency not only did not play a role in extricating Jews from such perilous nations as Ukraine but they too fell way short of what is expected of a privately funded agency that is under the auspices of the government of Israel. Sharansky has since vacated that position.
Now, the former chairman of the Israeli Labor party, Isaac Herzog, is at the helm of the once formidable Jewish Agency. Since he took office in August of 2018, little has changed at the Jewish Agency in terms of Aliyah efforts and even programs to assist Jews in the diaspora who are being targeted because of their faith and their support of Israel.
Saving the day in the Aliyah department is none other than such practical, hands-on organizations as Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Birthright trips for young people. Let’s not forget the incredible contributions of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), who, under the guidance of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, zt’l promoted and funded Aliyah efforts around the globe.
At the end of May, the Times of Israel reported that Netanyahu named former transportation minister Israel Katz as permanent foreign minister, three months after making him the country’s acting top diplomat after a High Court petition challenged the number of ministerial portfolios held by the Israeli leader.
The appointment formalizes the February decision to put Katz in charge of the Foreign Ministry, which Netanyahu had held since the 2015 elections. The decision concerning this appointment came hours before the deadline for Netanyahu to form a new government.
Yes, a reshuffling of the proverbial deck of talent in Israel’s governmental body must become an urgent priority, lest the voters of Israel seek real change in government ethics and effectiveness.
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