By Yoni Hirsch
It isn’t every day that Benjamin Netanyahu receives a sympathetic article in The New York Times, which usually doles out harsh criticism against the Israeli prime minister. But this week, Netanyahu received rare approval in an article titled “The Age of Bibi.”
In Friday’s op-ed, columnist David Brooks, who attests to having visited Israel nearly 20 times, compares Netanyahu to several prominent historical figures, including one of Netanyahu’s own heroes, Winston Churchill. “Netanyahu obviously lacks many of Churchill’s qualities, like playful charm, but he has a profound nationalist passion and a consuming historical consciousness,” Brooks writes.
“Bellicose in words yet cautious in action, Benjamin Netanyahu is a man of contrasts, and he is subtly reshaping Israel,” Brooks writes, noting the prime minister’s long-term effect on the country he leads.
Brooks lauds Netanyahu’s instincts, saying that “like Churchill, he is wisest when things are going wrong. As the Arab Spring has deteriorated, as Palestinian democracy led to Hamas, as run-of-the-mill extremists have lost ground to the Islamic State, Bibi’s instincts have basically been proved correct,” he writes.
Brooks, whose son is currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier, says that from his conversations with Israelis he terms “intelligent,” he has gotten the impression that the current elections are about one thing: what Israelis think of Netanyahu.
He explains that there is not one simple opinion of the incumbent prime minister. “To some, he is a monster who has expanded the settlements,” he writes, while to others “he is the necessary man in hard times, the vigilant guardian as the rest of the Middle East goes berserk.”
He says that both viewpoints are valid, but adds that Netanyahu’s caution has obvious merits “if you think, as I do, that Israel has to wait out the current spasm of Islamist radicalism.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22573