Voice of the Jewish News: Even UAE deal can’t boost Bibi’s ratings
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Voice of the Jewish News: Even UAE deal can’t boost Bibi’s ratings

This week's editorial reflects on the landmark Abraham Accords and its impact on the long-serving Israeli Prime Minister's popularity

Jewish News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointing on a map as he speaks to flight LY971 Captain Tal Becker upon the plane's landing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, 31 Aug 2020.  Photo by: KOBI GIDEON- GPO Via JINIPIX
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointing on a map as he speaks to flight LY971 Captain Tal Becker upon the plane's landing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, 31 Aug 2020. Photo by: KOBI GIDEON- GPO Via JINIPIX

Israelis were pleased to see the country’s agreement to normalise relations with two Gulf kingdoms officially inked this week, but if their prime minister thought this might help his ratings he should think again. Israelis are furious – and rightly so.

Their Covid-19 death rates per capita are now the fifth highest in the world. Their hospitals cannot cope and have said so, raising the red flag this week. Their towns and cities have suffered a patchwork quilt of local lockdowns and sporadic curfews, while cultural and social calendar-makers have lost track of what year it is, such has been the see-saw changes by ministers who cannot agree on much.

Some, such as Yaakov Litzman, the recently resigned Housing Minister and former Health Minister, say Israelis should flock en masse to synagogues, given the time of year, while the 70-year-old Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, already the subject of such scorn and weekly protests, had to be pulled kicking and screaming from a private jet he wanted to whisk him to the White House for the UAE-Bahrain signing ceremony. Advisers, it seems, told him it wasn’t a good look, given he was on trial for corruption in a case at least partly triggered by his and his wife’s alleged love of all things shiny.

Israel is in trouble. Its leaders have seldom lacked this much legitimacy in the eyes of the public, while economically the country is in deep recession, now made worse by the three-week lockdown announced, one that will surely kill small businesses up and down the country. The finance ministry says the three-week hiatus will cost about £1.5 billion.

Having initially taken all the right decisions – to lock down fast and tight – this feels like Israel having led 1-0 for 90 minutes, only to have let in two sloppy extra-time goals. As their PM smiled from the White House, the fans were booing him off the pitch.

 

Here’s to partying again

The loss of big celebrations with family and friends has impacted on us all, but it has hit the simcha suppliers hardest.

Their livelihoods have suffered and, in some cases, been destroyed by lockdown. It has never been more important for us to support them. Ever inventive, they have come up with ways to enhance a virtual event and produce food orders for small numbers. 

You can read their new year greetings on pages 43 and 43. Jewish News would like to wish them all continued success and good health. 

Here’s to partying again with their help very soon.

 

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