Voice of the Jewish News: Risk and reward
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Voice of the Jewish News: Risk and reward

This week's Jewish News editorial looks ahead to next week's Israeli election and the state of British politics

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding talks in 10 Downing Street in September. Photo credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding talks in 10 Downing Street in September. Photo credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Last week Boris and Bibi shook hands on the steps of 10 Downing Street. This week it’s interesting to ponder whether either will still be their nation’s elected leader by the year’s end.

Both have elections coming up – Israel’s is next week and Britain’s is probably, possibly, maybe, going to be at some point before Christmas, or after, depending on Jeremy Corbyn and Brussels and a host of other things.

For Benjamin Netanyahu, London was business as usual, or at least that’s the impression he hopes to give with these foreign stopovers. The question they surreptitiously pose is: “Can you really imagine anyone else doing this, representing Israel like this?”

For Boris Johnson (or “Yeltsin,” as the Israeli leader mistakenly called him back in Jerusalem) it is anything but business as usual, because among the many things Brexit has done is bin the concept of ‘usual’ in British politics.

Still, chaos often breeds creativity and Boris clearly fancies a crack at the voters. Despite his parliamentary headaches, he is on a high – overwhelmingly elected by Conservative members, having headed the winning referendum team.  Before that he was twice elected Mayor of London – a staunchly Labour city – so his confidence at the ballot box could be forgiven.

Yet if he thinks he’s a shoe-in, he should speak to Theresa May. She also thought she’d walk it when she called an election in April 2017, but lost seats so spectacularly that for a moment it looked as if Jeremy Corbyn might become the UK’s next prime minister. A word to the wise.

Yet for both Bibi and Boris, an inner confidence in their ability to do the job, and an innate belief that they are the right man to do it, seems to help enormously. Confidence translates, as does any lack of (sorry, Theresa).

Like them or loath them, both now give the impression not only that they will win but that they will do what they said they will do, whether that be to annex the West Bank or to leave the EU without a deal, just as Trump followed through on his pledge to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

One can only wonder what Mr Corbyn would follow through on if he were to snatch power from a divided and increasingly right-wing Conservative Party.

The risk and reward of rolling the dice has never seemed greater in these two countries we hold dear.

 

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