Knesset Is Overrun by a New Breed: Netanyahu Version 2.0

They learned an important lesson in Game Theory from PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and then mounted the stage; now the Baby Bibis are charging ahead.

Niva Lanir
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Niva Lanir

Last week the curtain rose on an insane spectacle in the Knesset. Netanyahu was the star but for the first time, looking over his shoulder he could see the supporting actors who are threatening to take the leading role away from him, perhaps even to steal the show. He groomed them. He raised, watered, fertilized and nurtured them. They learned an important lesson in Game Theory from him, and then mounted the stage. Now the Baby Bibis are charging ahead.

Likud MKs Zeev Elkin, Yariv Levin, Ofir Akunis, Danny Danon, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Miri Regev and Tzipi Hotovely see primaries just over the horizon. Perhaps even a seat at the table of the next cabinet. And if not the cabinet table, then at least the speakership of the Knesset. And if not the speakership, then the even-more-important chairmanship of a Knesset committee. The sky's the limit. And Likud is the sky.

Bullying and belligerent: Likud MK Ofer Akunis (left), one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s protégés.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Meanwhile they are breathing down the necks of the Likud ministers Moshe Kahlon and Yisrael Katz and ignoring ministers Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Yossi Peled. Here and there they will let fly a stub of a liberal-constitutional remark to show how witty, intelligent and politically independent they are, as they ask to revisit discussion of a bill. But the Baby Bibis will invest the best of their energy, vision and intellect into getting their supporters into key positions in local party branches, in the Likud Central Committee and the party convention - the supporters who will send them to the party's Knesset list. They will also lend a hand to their natural partners in the Yesha Council of settlements, the settlers of the territories and the hilltops. In contrast, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan suddenly seems like a restrained liberal. And Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel seems quiet and sad.

The Baby Bibis, the new elite of the Knesset, are charging ahead. They are bullying, belligerent and uninhibited. Their motto - "we were elected to govern" - is a temporary replacement for the real thing: "God has chosen us to rule." The separation of powers does not interest them, the attorney general and the Knesset's legal advisers do not deter them. On the contrary, the attorney general's claim that he cannot defend a certain law before the High Court of Justice is music to their ears, a sign to go for it. They are here to save the greater Land of Israel from being divided, to thwart any possibility of negotiations; even negotiations about negotiations. And if the High Court puts an obstacle in their path, they will remove it, because they are good at removing obstacles. They will do all this not only with temerity, but also by underhandedness and deception if need be.

The vision of the new elite from the school of Benjamin Netanyahu is taking shape. The first arena, that of the Knesset, has been almost completely conquered. Advances on the media front are impressive. The Broadcasting Authority is being dealt with energetically. Channel 10 is breathing its last breath. The television franchisees and the newspapers are in huge trouble. And very soon, a moment of pleasure will be ours, when the prize ceremony for Zionist works of culture takes place and the minister of culture will shed a tear, with the glitterati well represented in the audience.

The Baby Bibis are charging ahead. No one is threatening them. No State Comptroller's Report, no anxiety over the caprices of Avigdor Lieberman and no fear of a break-up of the coalition and early elections. They are here to stay and to go straight to the last lap and the front row. They do not hesitate, they do not zigzag and they do not waste time before responding. They do not defend themselves. They attack. And they are lying in wait for anyone who tries to stop them, even if his name is Benjamin Netanyahu.

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