Let me not mince words, because the hour is dark and Israel, as I said, is in real danger.
Netanyahu and his far-right zealots have taken Israel on multiple flights of fancy in the last year: dividing the country and the army over the fraudulent judicial reform, bankrupting its future with massive investments in religious schools that teach no math and in West Bank Jewish settlements that teach no pluralism — while building up Hamas, which would never be a partner for peace, and tearing down the Palestinian Authority, the only possible partner for peace.
The sooner Israel replaces Netanyahu and his far-right allies with a true center-left-center-right national unity government, the better chance it has to hold together during what is going to be a hellish war and aftermath.
And the better chance that Biden — who may be down in the polls in America but could get elected here in a landslide for the empathy and steel he showed at Israel’s hour of need — will not have hitched his credibility and ours to a Netanyahu Israel that will never be able to fully help us to help it.
This society is so much better than its leader.
It is too bad it took a war to drive that home.
Ron Scherf is a retired member of Israel’s most elite special forces unit and a founder of Brothers in Arms, the Israeli activist coalition that mobilized veterans and reservists to oppose Netanyahu’s judicial coup.
Immediately after the Hamas invasion, Brothers in Arms pivoted to organizing reservists and aid workers to get to the front — left, right, religious, secular, it didn’t matter — many hours before this incompetent government did.
It’s a remarkable story of grass-roots mobilization that showed how much solidarity is still buried in this place and could be unlocked by a different prime minister, one who was a uniter, not a divider.
Or as Scherf put it to me, “When you go to the front, you are overwhelmed by the power of what we lost.”