If you’re still struggling to grasp Bibi Netanyahu’s downfall in Israel, listen to this: a Jewish-American novelist, a Palestinian-Arab screenwriter and a Canadian-American-Israeli pundit all walk into a Zoom room together, to pull the puzzle apart. Bibi himself is the central piece: hard-shell Israeli but a made-in-America story, he’s the child of Philadelphia suburbs and gunslinger westerns on ’50s TV, holder of two MIT degrees. Coalition politics is another puzzle piece: a game in which eight parties led by Bibi’s former friends could decide, no matter what, he had to go. Still to be reckoned: the wear and tear on the people of an occupying power, a democracy holding a tough upper hand on 20 percent of its citizens.
The Netanyahu Era, Israel’s longest political reign, splintered and broke last Sunday night. This radio hour we’re drawing on informed fiction writers to catch the drift of the story; the point is to add imagination to reality-based impressions on hearts and feelings at the close of Bibi time. Joshua Cohen is a Jewish-American novelist who has lived off-and-on in Israel. Sayed Kashua is a Palestinian Arab and an Israeli citizen – famous for a light touch with dark humor in his Hebrew prose; he wrote Israel’s hit TV series about the lived experience of Arabs in Jerusalem. Bernard Avishai wrote The Hebrew Republic; he’s the New Yorker magazine’s explainer of Israeli politics.
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