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Netanyahu as the Prophet Jeremiah

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu radiates pessimism concerning Israel's strategic landscape, when he is concerned about his own standing within his party and his coalition. 
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens to his aide-de-camp Eyal Zamir during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Sebastian Scheiner/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX108W1
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is depressed. Ashen faced and weary-eyed, his body language is all gloom and doom. Usually for him, that is accompanied by a common cold, a pile of used tissue papers and an empty cold medicine box. This works well for him with his doomsday prophecies about Israel’s dire situation, the mounting threats, the black clouds collecting in the offing, the hopelessness and the infinite plots being devised against the lone Israel. For the first time since the general elections in January 2013, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this week [June 10]. Some of the attendants said that his review was the “most pessimistic, alarming and hopeless” one they have ever heard from him since he went into politics. “I closed my eyes for a moment,” one of the committee’s veteran members related, “and I was sure it wasn’t [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] Bibi who was talking to us, but none other than the Prophet Jeremiah, warning the people of an impending calamity.”

Are things really that desperate? Of course not. Should Israel’s many enemies prepare to crack open the champagne bottles? Certainly not. Quite the contrary. So why is Netanyahu so pessimistic? That’s simple: It’s not Israel’s situation that brings Netanyahu down; it’s his own. For leaders such as Netanyahu, national and personal interests get mixed. When they feel bad, they’re convinced that the state feels bad, too. After all, Netanyahu thinks he is the state. The premier’s existential depression is justified since it reflects his own persona. His review at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee could be instantly reversed. At the committee meeting, Netanyahu talked about the tens of thousands of rockets and missiles threatening Israel’s center from all around (Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas), as well as the S-300 batteries that can shoot down any passenger airliner taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport. He went on to talk about Iran’s nuclear arms race, the grave situation in Egypt, the tenuous grip of the regime in Jordan, the splintering of Syria and the danger of massive transfers of weapons of mass destruction into terrorist hands. Incidentally, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, [former foreign minister and] Knesset member Avigdor Liberman, set next to Bibi, providing him with many low-hanging fruits. Liberman was the only person in that room who was more pessimistic than Netanyahu. Maybe in Liberman’s case that’s a personal issue, too. After all, his political fate rests in the hands of three judges. Evet [Liberman] hates it when his destiny is entrusted in someone else’s hands. 

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