Eight days ago, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ended an unprecedented twelve consecutive years in office. Whether he will return to the office is anyone’s guess. David M. Weinberg, while frankly acknowledging Benjamin Netanyahu’s flaws and policy failures, argues that there is much to praise about his tenure. Above all else, Weinberg writes, Netanyahu made Israel strong militarily, diplomatically, and economically:
Israel’s economic attractiveness overwhelmed the nefarious Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which sought to isolate Israel and to strangle it economically. Economic success also was one of the key ingredients of last year’s Abraham Accord peace treaties. Gulf Arab nations marveled at Israel’s technological and economic success and pined to partner with it.
Onto this, Netanyahu layered global diplomatic outreach, aimed at developing new political alliances and business markets for Israel—ranging from India and China to Africa and South America. He also expanded Israel’s diplomatic ties to Russia and Eastern Europe. All this has provided the Jewish state with a more broad-based diplomatic [operation] than ever before, allowing it to maneuver on the global playing field for strategic advantage.
I doubt that this was what Netanyahu was thinking about at the time, but numerous public figures in the Arabian Gulf have told me that more than anything else it was Netanyahu’s defiant speech in Congress [opposing the nuclear deal with Iran] that drove their leaders forward toward open diplomatic relations with Israel. . . . They [also] recognized that Israel is the only country in the region engaged in concrete, daily combat against the Iranians, through covert intelligence operations and targeted strikes.
Prime Minister Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid would do well to embrace Netanyahu’s strategic doctrines (and even to give him some credit), and in so doing lead Israel toward ever-more-robust security and diplomatic achievements.