He has never been lonelier. In the 15 cumulative years he has been leading the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was always surrounded by exclusive coteries and phalanxes of advisers and associates. While the quality of some was debatable, given Netanyahu’s preference for yes-men over independent professionals, he always had a reasonable, intimate consultative forum. He has always had a cabinet of selected ministers, a mini-cabinet for sensitive security matters, a forum of seven and then eight serious, experienced advisers just a phone call or a meeting away.
The most beautiful years were those of the “secret seven” between 2009 and 2013. Netanyahu was in a new term after a decade-long political exile. He established a government with the Labor Party led by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and a consultative forum dubbed “the Septet” that included such respected Likud politicians as Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, decorated security experts such as former army chief Moshe Ya’alon and Defense Minister Barak and maverick hawk Avigdor Liberman. In total, these men had hundreds of years of experience and responsibility, a well-defined worldview and a robust scale of moral values. They stood up to Netanyahu and prevented him from achieving his greatest and probably most unrealistic dream of mounting a military strike on Iran’s emerging nuclear infrastructure.