His military is taking high casualties, the U.S. president is constantly carping and second-guessing him and there is no end in sight to the Gaza war, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has over 80 percent approval. He has a clear objective — the destruction of Hamas missiles and tunnels. He has aligned his country’s interests with regional allies (e.g. Egypt) that share his objectives (Hamas’s defeat). He’s spoken repeatedly and forcefully to rebut the media’s moral equivalence fetish. He’s highlighted the repulsive tactics and objectives of Hamas, and reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself. He’s placed blame for civilian casualties where it belongs, on the terrorists who use them as human shields.
In 2012, talking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual summit he declared, “Today we have a state of our own. And the purpose of the Jewish state is to defend Jewish lives and to secure the Jewish future. Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our very survival. Never again. That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” Then he was speaking about Iran, but the words are equally applicable to the threat posed by Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. It’s a sentiment that serves Israel well in a time when the United States is morally, militarily and diplomatically confused.
In short, Netanyahu — who obviously did not relish the prospect of a ground war — has done what a wartime leader is expected to do. He’s set clear goals, defined the stakes, drawn clear moral lines and unified his people. For all that we can say well done, Mr. Prime Minister.