Unlike Most Political Autobiographies, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Is a Literary Success

During his brief period out of office last fall, Israel’s current prime minister published an English-language memoir. Andrew Roberts writes in his review:

Most politicians’ autobiographies are turgid affairs. They tend to be written for the historical record, or for votes in the next election, or to prove that the author was always right about everything—three reliable avenues to literary failure. Because very often the authors’ successes were won as the result of negotiation and compromises in anonymous committee rooms and dingy back offices, their memoirs struggle to convey drama: long speeches are reproduced; debates over long-dead issues are reheated; readers yawn.

Then there is Benjamin Netanyahu’s autobiography, Bibi: My Story, which, as I realized around page 200, is not a politician’s autobiography at all, but an adventure story dressed up as one. It is a Tom Clancy novel written for a Tom Cruise movie adaptation, posing as a normal politician’s memoir. Yes, it has the photo of the author on the front cover and the requisite subtitle and the necessary width of a political memoir, but inside it is entirely different. Besides being a blood-and-guts page-turner more reminiscent of a film script than of the memoirs of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, it also deserves a place as one of history’s great Zionist texts.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to work out the essential truth about what drives Netanyahu: despite his achievements and longevity in office in the infamously tough bearpit of Israeli politics, he considers himself to be only the third most impressive member of his immediate family. For here is a man who is acutely conscious of having constantly to live up to the extremely high expectations of his father, Benzion, and brother Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu. Since both are dead, they cannot tell him whether he has succeeded or not. . . . The last time that I have encountered such filial piety in a book was in Winston Churchill’s two-volume biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, who arguably did not deserve it, having been a beast to his son.

Read more at Claremont Review of Books

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli history, Winston Churchill

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security