The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu

Avi Shilon at Literary Review:

The secret of his leadership lies in a profound pessimism that is reflected in his approach to the conflict (and, to an extent, to life). It’s a pessimism that is regarded as realism by most Israelis. The fact that the evaporation of hope in the peace process has been accompanied in recent years by an economic and cultural boom in Israel has enabled him to justify his policy, exacerbating the frustration of the liberal camp in Israel, which, as in many other parts of the Western world, is in decline.

Pfeffer accurately describes Netanyahu’s success in winning over Israel’s lower class, despite the fact that he was born to an elite family, and in channelling the anger of many Mizrahi Jews and right-wing Israelis towards the old elites and the media for his own benefit. In this respect, Bibi is both a uniquely Israeli phenomenon and part of an international trend of populist leaders who exploit democratic systems in order to amplify their own power, at the same time weakening the mechanisms that are essential for protecting democracy.

more here.