April 15, 2015

I knew Bibi, decades ago, as a soldier and young officer under my command facing real fire. He was determined, effective and focused. Character does not change. Chickensh-t he is not. But over time, while thoughtful and an avid reader of history, he developed a mind-set at once pessimistic, passive and anxious. Benjamin Netanyahu seems to avoid any initiative. Some say it’s all about surviving in power. I think he is more complex and nuanced.

Netanyahu was just elected, for the fourth time, to lead Israel. I personally know it’s not trivial to win office, simple to govern or easy to leave a positive imprint on history. Netanyahu is basically right about Iran and our risky neighborhood. But he can fail to seize opportunities, and on the Palestinian question he grossly ignores the slippery slope awaiting Israel in the form of a one-state solution.

To leave his mark Netanyahu must swiftly heal wounds opened by his campaign, mend the working relationship with President Obama, fight hard—mainly behind closed doors—for a tougher policy, and even, if needed, an attack against Iran and boldly engage the region’s moderates against terror, radicalism and Iranian hegemony. Daring actions are needed. Not just words.

Barak, a former Prime Minister, was Netanyahu’s Defense Minister from 2009 to 2013

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