Text size

The silence which was cast immediately after Benjamin Netanyahu was kicked out of power (he had become so tiring that a whole new party - the "Center" - was created just for that purpose) was described at the time by Amos Oz as the silence which comes after a jackhammer is turned off. Only in retrospect do we recognize the enormity, the depressing and exhausting noise in which we lived for months, years.

The implication is not just to the loudness that accompanied the non-stop shrieking of his time in office ("They are afraid!", "I am a proud mob!") but also to the endless bedlam that the belligerent and argumentative man brought about the minute he climbed onto the public floor of our lives (not by chance, together with Channel 2). Especially that "media" obsession of his, that filled television and radio 24 hours a day with a murky cloud of insinuations, denials, quarrels, monotonous slogans, when his main interest - also as a prime minister - was the spin, the make-up, the angles of the camera, the accumulation of "air time," the clashes in which he would always put in the final word.

But we are faced with a paradox: Over and over it was proved that the Achilles' heel of "Mr. Media" are his appearences in the media. Indeed, he who was considered "Mr. TV" and the "Media Genius" on the international networks was devastated over and over the more he was exposed to the local media to which he is so addicted. The paradox is even more evident when, in an objective look at our politics, we discover that the damage Netanyahu caused is much less than that of his two successors and some of his predecessors. Furthermore, in retrospect, it becomes apparent that his intellectual skills, and even his system of checks and balances, are better than those who were considered to be more "balanced" and "responsible" than him. Moreover, at least "on paper" more than a few of his diagnoses and analyses were right.

"On paper" - but not in the interpersonal sphere that makes up politics and diplomacy. Here, Netanyahu acted and still operates like he is possessed - a vapor poisoning the environment surrounding him, a catalyst of hatred and malice. This, in full cooperation with a sensationalist media, which lies at his feet merely for the "show" and the action. Thus a closed circuit is formed, in which Netanyahu's absence and silence create renewed respect for him, but every one of his "comebacks" - with all the tiring shticks and tricks - result in his drastic drop in the polls.

That's how it was the last time he arrived on the screens of the Likud convention, and that's how it was this weekend. The more he tries to correct the impression by increasing the dosage of his appearances, the more he reminds us of what and who it's all about.

"At least he's not Bibi," those deeply disappointed with Sharon console themselves. "Yes, but at least he's not Bibi," we said even for the insufferable Barak. How strange, even Netanyahu himself is trying to convince us, every time anew (once in blue hair, and the next in metallic gray) that he also "is no longer Bibi."

But what can we do? He is Bibi. Only Bibi. Very Bibi. He is the Bibiest of them all. And now the terrible shaking is back. Apparently that noise of the Jackhammer was not a passing nightmare. The silence - the sweet silence - that was just a dream.