Considering the fact that the new Israeli government is practically a Republican regime, it was surprising to see how President Obama seemed happy in his visit to Israel. Obama's joke about the pleasures of being far away from Congress must have been either sarcastic or based on wishful thinking; Israel's government has a clear right-wing, conservative majority on matters relating both to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to Israel's future ethos. Representatives of the settler movement are now occupying the ministries and committees dealing with defense, foreign affairs and budget allocation, and in a way, are a mirror image to the could-have-been Romney government:
Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) is Mitt Romney's close friend and ally for decades, and openly supported Romney's candidacy. In their personalities and beliefs, the two seem to have been separated at birth; the tendency to display very elastic opinions on major topics, their Narcissism and detachment, and their personal wealth and hard-core neocon views. A little like Mrs. Palin, Bibi's wife, Also named Sarah, is an endless source of inspiration for comedians in Israel, only it seems Mrs. Palin could benefit from lessons in control, manipulation and aggression from Mrs. Netanyahu.
Israel's new defense secretary, Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon, is a right-wing Likud party ex-general that opposes the two-state solution, supports an Israeli attack in Iran, and a bigger defense budget (6.5 percent of GDP, higher than the U.S.). like president W, he is not considered the sharpest pencil in the box, with some comparisons to Peter Sellers in "Being there" or to the other Peter, Principle.
The foreign minister's job is kept on hold for Mr. Avigdor Lieberman, a settler and the leader of the right-wing "Israel Our Home" party. Mr. Lieberman was recently indicted for breach of trust and fraud while serving as the foreign minister of Israel. He was born in the Soviet union, is a proud supporter of Mr. Putin, and in the past suggested the transfer of Palestinians to Arab countries. He also described Israeli liberals and Arab members of Knesset as collaborators with the Nazis. Mr. Lieberman does a better Kris Kobach than Kobach himself.
The new shining star in Israeli politics, and the newly appointed minister of finance is Mr. Yair Lapid. Young, handsome, and previously a news anchor, columnist and spokesperson for Israel's largest bank, Lapid is sometimes referred to as the Israeli version of "The Manchurian candidate"; deployed and controlled by the 1 percent of the Israeli money elite to look after their interests and preserve a fixed financial system with a level of inequality rivaling that of the U.S.. Wall Street or Mr. Boehner couldn't be happier with someone as fit as Mr. Ryan, sorry, Mr. Lapid.
The other new meteor is the Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Naftali Bennett; the leader of "The Jewish Home" settler party, and a religious extreme right-winger. Bennett opposes a Palestinian state or any evacuation of Israeli settlers from the occupied territories. He recently stated that as a soldier, he would personally refuse to carry out such an order should it arrive. Bennett is a very smart and ambitious young man, holding some very antiquated views. Many Republicans seem to be answering this description.
Occupying the other ranks of the Likud and its coalition parties, one finds a long line of unfortunate echoes to some surreal members of the GOP. Miri Regev, the chair of the domestic affairs committee, is a racist bigot and the local Michele Bachmann. Members of Knesset Danon, Elkin, Akunis, Feiglin, Levin, Struck, Shamir, and Saar are best thought of as the spiritual brothers and sisters of the likes of Akin, Mourdock, Santorum, Perry, Paul, Trump and Rubio. The only missing piece in the puzzle is an Israeli equivalent to Christine O'Donnell. That's hard to find even in a holy city like Jerusalem.