Skip to main content

When will Israeli politicians stop hiding behind masks?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fully aware of the diplomatic and security dangers involved in annexing the Jordan Valley, but these do not deter him from making plenty of empty promises to his voters.
Read in 

The recent series of short-interval elections taught elected Israeli officials that they need to change their habits. In the past, they would remove their masks immediately after elections in order to try and lead the public down the road they really wanted. Late Prime Minister Menachem Begin made a full retreat from the Sinai Peninsula; late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stated before the 1992 elections that only a madman would withdraw from the Golan Heights, but afterward he informed American Secretary of State Christopher Warren that he was prepared to withdraw fully from the Heights if Israel’s security needs were addressed; and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore before the 2009 elections that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be formed, but afterward came his famous Bar Ilan speech. Now, however, Israeli politicians are worried about the chances for another (fourth) round of elections in the near future. They know that another round in such a short interval would immediately reveal the gap between their election promises and their readiness to fulfill those promises.

Due to this awkward state of affairs, a new phenomenon has been created in recent months: Politicians are wearing their masks for longer periods of time than in the past. Thus, we find ourselves in never-ending election cycles in which propaganda and policy are mixed together, making it very difficult to distinguish between the two.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.