The photograph is in front of me: The prime minister with children suffering from cancer, before Purim. A 2-year-old girl on his lap - his wife Sara looking at her compassionately. A heartwarming photo accompanied by a caption: "Don't stop dreaming, don't give up," says Benjamin Netanyahu to the little ones. "That's the history of our people, and that's what gives us strength." For heaven's sake, Bibi, why can't you speak like a human being for once, why do you constantly make speeches?
That's the man and his speechifying nature: Every human occasion turns into a nationalist display. Had he devoted himself to music rather than politics, he would have arranged the "Moonlight Sonata" for a brass-and-percussion ensemble. Now, after the attack in Jerusalem, he will once again thunder with drums and cymbals about the intolerable situation, which he himself is doing nothing to repair.
In Itamar a massacre took place, and immediately we got the impression that Netanyahu had swooped down on it as if it were a major find. "They murder and we build," he said, coming to console and emerging with formulaic words. Had his enthusiasm, so typical of a salesman, not been exposed, the crime would have received greater exposure and spoken for itself. But the national explainer won't let the horror shout out for itself. He insists on putting words in its mouth.
On the open seas a boat carrying an arms shipment was captured, and the Prime Minister's Office hastened to dictate to the media: This cargo "tilts the balance." Exactly what balance is he talking about here? Balance between Israel and Gaza, between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas? Again, had the prime minister and the defense minister, as well as the chief of staff and the head of the navy, not jumped to the front of the pier, and had they not tried to catch a fat fish in shallow waters, a modest news item about the catch would have gone out all over the world. But who has the strength for another comment by God and his deputies, issued by the propaganda machine?
The worst thing is happening to the prime minister: His supporters are steadily decreasing, and so are his opponents. In the meantime, more and more people are indifferent and despairing. What's the billy goat capable of producing? Maybe only another drop of milk for the gas entrepreneurs. He has thrown a great deal of sand in both our left and right eyes. Both have discovered: Netanyahu can't.
The only thing he can still do is scold Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen ): The PA is responsible for the incitement that kills. But Netanyahu becomes blind and deaf when in the settlement of Shiloh Jews attack a Palestinian who is building the settlement for them; when in Jerusalem they beat up an Arab waiter at a wedding; when in Safed they burn Arab students' cars; when at soccer stadiums Beitar fans insult the non-Jewish players; when in the South Hebron Hills settlers stab an Arab farmer and kick the sheep; when near Itamar they uproot olives, level the area with a bulldozer and pave a path to another illegal outpost; and when in the Knesset they approve more racist laws.
That's the disgraceful yield for just one week, and none of it would have happened had incitement not increased in Israel - incitement that is overflowing its banks and pouring through the high and open windows of the government, the Knesset and the rabbinate.
If I were Abu Mazen, I would call Netanyahu and in a masterful baritone demand that he condemn, clearly and in Hebrew, the army and the police who are standing aside. I would demand curricula changes in Israeli schools, which are educating disciples of Yigal Amir and Baruch Goldstein.
With his pomposity like the comedian Eli Yatzpan, Mr. Netanyahu has turned into Mr. Fabricator, with a puffed-up chest and a little head - the prime minister de jure but not de facto. With or without him, what difference does it make? The situation will develop on its own, and he won't lift a finger to divert it from its suicidal path.
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