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Yuval Noah Harari on why Netanyahu is endangering Israel’s survival

Instead of rushing into a new war with Iran, we should first learn the lessons of Israel's failures over the past six months.
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A begrudged Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu and his political partners risk putting Israel and the entire region in grave danger (Image: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters).

Published: 22 April 2024

Last updated: 24 April 2024

In the coming days Israel will have to make historic policy decisions, ones that could shape its fate and that of the entire region for generations to come. Unfortunately, Benjamin Netanyahu and his political partners have repeatedly proven they are unfit to make such decisions.

The policies they pursued have brought Israel to the brink of destruction. So far, they have shown no regret for their past mistakes, and no inclination to change direction.

If they continue to shape policy, they will lead Israel and the whole Middle East to perdition.

War is a military means for achieving political aims, and there is one key yardstick to measure success in war: Were the political aims achieved?

Following October 7, Israel needed to liberate the hostages and disarm Hamas, but these should not have been its only aims.

In light of the existential threat posed by Iran and its agents of chaos, Israel needed to deepen its alliance with Western democracies, strengthen cooperation with moderate Arab forces, and work to establish a stable regional order.

However, the Netanyahu government ignored all these aims, and instead focused on revenge.

The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and the worsening situation in the West Bank are inflaming regional chaos and weakening Israel's alliances with Western democracies. Most Israelis have now focused their attention on Tehran, but even prior to the Iranian attack we preferred to turn a blind eye to what was happening in Gaza and the West Bank.

Yet if we don't change our behavior toward the Palestinians, our hubris and vengefulness will inflict a historic calamity on us.


From Gaza to Iran, the Netanyahu government is endangering Israel's survival (Yuval Noah Harari, Haaretz)


Israel is fighting on four fronts – but the defeat may come at home (Guardian)
The IDF is embroiled in simultaneous conflicts with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and in the West Bank – but hadn’t reckoned on the social and political divisions this would cause.


  • Avatar of Kevin Judah White

    Kevin Judah White24 April at 11:17 pm

    As usual, Prof Harari is spot on in his analysis of the conflict. He’s able to cut through to the nub of an issue without resort to partisan polemics.

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