Shimon Peres is unable to fool anyone in Israel. Right or left, all Israelis know he’s an ugly character. Not so with Netanyahu, about whom many Israelis harbor dangerous delusions. Indeed, Netanyahu was only able to win the elections because he was running against Shimon Peres.

As the next prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu is by any measure preferable to Ehud Barak, who has already demonstrated his willingness to surrender to Arafat just about everything, including Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s position, at least on paper, is somewhat more Jewish. In the face of the Iranian threat, Netanyahu would possibly appoint Barak a defense minister, thus compensating for Netanyahu’s own weakness in military management. On other hand, it is no less likely that Olmert would bomb Iranian nuclear targets shortly before the elections in a bid to secure across-the-board electoral support.

To what extent can we expect Netanyahu to follow through on his pre-election promises? Such consistency is unlikely: Israeli politicians are remarkably dishonest. Rabin campaigned on promises of harsh retaliation against the Palestinians for terrorist attacks, only to sign the Oslo Accords soon after being elected. Sharon scored points in his election campaign by ridiculing the left’s plan for unilateral disengagement from Gaza—which he soon adopted in its entirety and realized with utmost cruelty to Jews. After Menachem Begin—the leader of the ETZEL terrorist group—gave away Sinai, and Yitzhak Shamir—the leader of the LEHI terrorist group—agreed to the Madrid conference, you shouldn’t expect an American-educated business consultant and politician like Netanyahu to be particularly honest.

Netanyahu was not particularly bad. He didn’t give away as much as other right-wing prime ministers have done. It is somewhat diabolical that the worst concessions—indeed, all the concessions—were made by the ultimate right-wingers: Begin, Shamir, Sharon. To this list we can add Rabin, who although leftist by political affiliation, was rightist to the point of fascism in his political and military methods. A possible reason for this tendency is that leftists know that they are lying about democracy and liberalism, so they have no problem promising the world powers one thing and doing the other. Right-wingers are somewhat more honest, or rather straightforward; once they lack faith and see no rational way out, they agree to foreign proposals which seem to promise peace, and follow through on their promises.

Again, Netanyahu wasn’t very bad: he even insisted, with that minimal shrewdness of a business consultant, on some reciprocity from Palestinians. If they wanted Israel to implement the Oslo Accords, they would have to implement them too, and reduce terrorism to begin with. Only in the warped world of Israeli politics could this attitude be presented as an achievement. Anyway, Olmert practices such policy, too, albeit from a different angle: he doesn’t demand reciprocity too insistently, as it is clearly impossible—and impossible demands, whether reasonable or not, would signify his refusal to implement the left’s peace policies. Instead, Olmert buries the issue under the heap of unfulfilled promises to Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s trademark approach is demonstrating the Palestinians’ non-cooperation. He signed the Wye River memorandum, which promised huge concessions to Arabs but required from them some impossible steps, such as prohibiting anti-Israeli incitement, collecting huge numbers of illegal firearms traditionally held by Arab villagers, and disbanding all terrorist organizations. It remains unknown whether the Palestinians never intended to realize the memorandum and just signed it, as the Israelis did, to please their American donors. Or perhaps Arafat believed he could get away with wholesale violations of the memorandum and still claim concessions from Israel. Whatever the case, the agreement went sour—but not before Israel fulfilled her first steps and transferred considerable areas to the Palestinian Authority. In fact, Israel transferred twice the stipulated part of Area C (2 percent instead of 1) and 59 percent of the stipulated part of Area B (7 percent instead of 12). Here lies the danger of Netanyahu’s approach: every time he agrees to demonstrate the (self-evident) ill will of the Palestinians, he has to make irreversible concessions.

Likewise, Netanyahu was proud that he set up the terms in the Hebron Agreement, which are impossible for the Palestinians to carry out; those terms are similar to the Wye River ones. But look just a bit deeper, and the agreement commits Israel to the undivided city of Hebron—which in context means, undivided under Palestinian jurisdiction.

Short of Olmert bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities, Netanyahu will win the elections. Lincoln remarked, “You can fool all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but not all of the people all the time.” That maxim doesn’t apply to Jews, who sheepishly vote for the same politicians who fooled them before. Is there a better prime ministerial prospect than Netanyahu? Probably not; all of them are equally bad. The Jewish state was established in a very totalitarian manner, by a single being, God, and cannot survive democratically. We don’t expect any good to come from the democratic process. Any prime minister raised through the corrupt and subservient hierarchy would become corrupt and subservient. He would also be faithless, as people of true faith (as opposed to Shas politicians) don’t get donations. So it matters to a very limited extent who would be the prime minister. The solution, if there were any, would come from the streets rather than from the Knesset.

But the elections can be useful by bringing a handful of good Jews into the Knesset. So our approach is voting for people such as Baruch Marzel, a true follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane, or perhaps Aryeh Eldad. Netanyahu doesn’t really need our votes; with or without them, he will win the elections. But our votes can bring Baruch the gadfly into the Knesset, and he at least won’t keep silent. Given the Knesset tribune, he can steer Israel a bit to the right, and to righteousness.