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Tablet Magizane

Israel’s political iron man inherits a hatful of tsuris

Liel Leibovitz and Tony Badran

Nov. 3 2022

What to make of Bibi Netanyahu’s decisive electoral victory?

We’ll leave the squawking about the end of democracy and the brink of war to the same bien-pensants who sang the exact same tune last time around, only to grow considerably quieter when Bibi, backed by President Donald Trump, managed to usher in a large-scale Israeli-Arab peace initiative that had, for decades, eluded our self-appointed intellectual and moral betters.

For now, it seems to us, two questions need addressing, one domestic and relatively trivial and the other regional and deeply significant.

The silly one first: What kind of coalition will Bibi build?


How might Bibi disentangle himself from this mess? The answer could be relatively simple: Sidle up to the Saudis.

Riyadh, too, understands very well that Biden’s policies, like Obama’s, are explicitly pro-Iranian, which is why its relationship with Washington had cooled to an unprecedented degree. This is why the Saudis supported, however implicitly, the Abraham Accords, which they understood, correctly, to be an anti-Iranian effort to align the interests of regional countries opposed to the murderous mullahs and their regime. It was no coincidence that the White House advertised its “regional integration” agenda on the eve of Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia. The message couldn’t have been clearer: The administration’s objective is not to further advance Israeli-Saudi alignment in the context of the anti-Iran framework of the Abraham Accords. Rather, it was to force Jerusalem and Riyadh to “integrate” Iranian holdings.

It makes perfect sense, then, for the Saudis and the Israelis to deepen their cooperation now that the Biden administration is cracking down on the former and about to do the same on the latter. And if they needed any further incentive to distance themselves from Biden and his explicitly harmful policies, the Saudis and the Israelis are likely counting on a Republican surge in next week’s midterms, as well as on Biden’s shockingly low poll numbers. It’s a great time for both to make this the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


It’s not likely that an Israeli-Saudi alliance, inspired as it may be, would be able to curb all of the Biden administration’s worst instincts. But it could certainly send a very strong and united message to the White House that its attempt to force Riyadh and Jerusalem into its pro-Iran “integration” scheme will fail, and that security interests, not media affirmations, will guide both Jerusalem and Riyadh moving forward. That is a complicated task requiring real vision and capabilities. Thankfully, the best man for the job is now back at the helm.

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