Although no one can predict who will win this election, we should still pronounce Benny Gantz’s inaugural speech last week a winner. After enduring mockery as a sphinx, keeping too quiet, Gantz found his voice, flapped his wings and soared.
The speech didn’t offer any new policies. It lacked innovative solutions to Israel’s challenges. That’s not what the speech was about. Instead, Gantz’s oratorical grand slam was a testament to temperament.
Good Ben(ny) tried breaking the spell that Bad Ben(jamin) cast on us. Good Benny warned against the corrupt Bibi-bargain – purchasing a stable foreign policy and economy at the cost of our souls.
Line after line skewered our now panicking prime minister, who has overstayed his welcome. Point after point resisted the defeatism and despair Netanyahu spreads. Value after value again invited us to dream Zionist dreams.
• “I am not prepared for an entire generation to live here without hope!” he said, echoing our miracles, our past, our traditional faith in the future, our anthem – “Hatikvah”!
• “We all deserve a leadership that gets up in the morning and thinks about us” – indirectly, elegantly, constructively, but firmly saying Bibi: Habayta, go home.
• “We all need a government that solves our real problems and is not preoccupied with itself,” he continued, evoking problem-solvers like David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin, sworn enemies who each retired in modesty – Begin to an apartment with a simple salon, Ben-Gurion to a kibbutz hut.
“Therefore, I thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his service for 10 years. We will continue from here” – loosely translated as, yes, time to go, Bibi; no, I won’t drink from your poisoned chalice of hit-and-run politics but will be gracious instead; so yes and no, we will continue from here but without perpetuating your boorish, selfish, divisive politics.