Likud Leader Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing to bring out an autobiographical book on his term as Israel’s Finance Minister as part of his plan to rehabilitate his image and sweep back to power in the next elections.
The new book, expected to come out towards the end of summer, deals with the reasons that Israel’s economy is booming, despite a lack of natural resources and devoting a significant portion of its GDP to security costs.
But essentially, it is about the two-and-a-half years Mr Netanyahu was in charge of the country’s treasury. The book, which will be titled The Israeli Tiger, will appear in Hebrew, English and Russian and compares Israel to Far East countries such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea, whose economies leapt forward in the second half of the 20th century. Mr Netanyahu praises Israel’s resourcefulness and creativity, although he takes a large part of the credit for the country’s recent financial success for himself.
In the last elections, two years ago, Mr Netanyahu lead Likud to its worst electoral result in 50 years. The former ruling party was reduced to 12 Knesset seats. One of the main reasons that Likud performed badly with its traditional working-class constituency was that its leader was held responsible by many for cutting their National Security benefits and pensions and for the rise in poverty levels.
Mr Netanyahu hopes to use his book to explain how the cuts were part of a larger plan to revolutionise the Israeli economy and helped to prepare it for the global sub-prime crisis. Despite his lead over the last year and a half in the polls, Mr Netanyahu realises that the rival parties will seek to remind voters of the downside of his economic record.
“Our main worry now,” one of Mr Netanyahu’s aides told the JC, “is that with the Olmert scandal, the elections will be brought forward and the book won’t be out on time, to have a public effect.”
Mr Netanyahu’s rivals have pounced on every opportunity to portray him as a “fantasist” and he is not about to give them more ammunition. According to a source close to him, the proofs of the new book are being edited closely to ensure that no embarrassing mistakes on Mr Netanyahu’s record get printed.