Letters to the Editor: Walk in Israelis’ shoes before criticizing their election choices
To the editor:
I was an early fan of Benjamin Netanyahu as a candidate for prime minister of Israel when he stood for election as leader of the opposition in 1999. In my view, he was a courageous, principled and brilliant politician with great political acumen.
His election was, therefore, more than a political victory, it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I was a member of the Knesset when he took office in 1999, and I continue to serve in that capacity.
I am glad that he prevailed. In the meantime, though, I would like to share with you my own view of him as prime minister.
His ascent to power was the result of a long campaign that began when he stood as a candidate in a primary election in 1999. By the time the first ballot was called, there were only a few dozen votes separating him from the winner. But in the end, with the help of friends and colleagues, he won a contest victory. It was not a landslide victory, but he won it with a majority of one.
That was the beginning of his political career. Now, after serving as the representative of a small Knesset district, he went on to become the leader of the opposition in the Knesset.
He has consistently done the right thing, for Israelis and for the country, and has served his people as a good and decent person, just as he made them his first priority in his new job.
Of the many issues he faced in his first term as prime minister, the most difficult and most important was the war in Iraq. To say that it was a long climb and a difficult battle is not exaggerating.
Israel did not declare war on Iraq until six months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush announced the bombing of a nuclear reactor in Iraq in February 2002.
A war against Iraq was not an easy decision. It was a serious, painful and bloody