E12. All About Bibi, Benny and Democracy: A Conversation with Top Israeli Journalist Attila Somfalvi
I sat down with top Israeli journalist Attila Somfalvi last week to catch up on his big picture thoughts. Where are we headed in Israel with all this political dysfunction, security urgencies? Social division? This guy never flags, but he was very candid in saying, off the top, that after 20 years of covering politics in Israel he is worried and anxious. He is also, however, optimistic, because even though the more liberal slice of Israeli society is smaller in number, as he explains it, the much larger and less liberal population – which tends to be religious – cannot survive, literally, without the former. And so, there is this unusual paradox – for a democracy, anyways – where the smaller demographic may have more significant sway. Why? Because they carry the state financially and in terms of security. They quite literally do the heavy lifting. The ultra-orthodox community may say that their religious devotion is what saves Israel but when the rubber hits the road they know it’s the IDF. In this context, Attila analyzes Netanyahu’s downward spiral as Benny Gantz ascends, quietly. There’s no hare in this race…..just two battle-hardened tortoises. But, in the end, Israelis trust no one more than a field-tested General. Blue-eyed Benny fits the bill. One of Israel’s leading journalists, Attila Somfalvi is everywhere: Ynet TV anchor and political analyst; host of Barrricade – an independently produced political podcast, popular event speaker and great writer – as you will see in the pages of State of Tel Aviv.
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