Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, January 11, 2018. Ronen Zvulun/AP

Editorial Unfit to Be Prime Minister

When the pressure cooker is bubbling, Netanyahu has decided to shatter the remains of the rule of law with his own hands

Benjamin Netanyahu has set out to utterly destroy the law enforcement system in order to make sure he remains in power. The prime minister has hidden for many months behind his faithful servants, MKs David Amsalem and David Bitan, who tried to save their master by enacting personal and retroactive legislation (the French bill, the recommendations bill). Now, when the pressure cooker is bubbling, he has decided to shatter the remains of the rule of law with his own hands.

On Wednesday, in an interview with “Uvda” (“Fact”), the TV program, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh spoke about the investigations into Netanyahu’s doings, revealing that “there are pressures on those involved in the investigation. There are people searching the area to gather information about the officers.” He described those people as “men who do this as a profession,” whom “someone must pay” in return for their services, adding, “That’s why it hindered us considerably.”

In response, Netanyahu, who appointed Alsheikh to his post, chose to rant and rave against him and the police. After expressing “shock” at the “delusional, deceitful suggestion,” he addressed his voters and asked “every decent man to ask himself how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can investigate him objectively and make recommendations regarding his case without prejudice.”

In other words, Netanyahu has launched a campaign to oust Alsheikh and senior police officers. “We must draw the necessary conclusions," Netanyahu said, and replace them with yes-men who will most likely understand what they have to do.

Some two weeks ago it was the attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit, another personal appointment of Netanayhu’s, who, out of alleged fear for the rule of law, began preparing public opinion for the closure of the prime minister’s cases without an indictment.

Mendelblit apparently understood what Alsheikh refuses, rightly, to understand: to survive in a senior public office under Netanyahu, one has no choice but to protect him, even if it means dealing a mortal blow to the integrity of the law enforcement system. The same interpretation can be given to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s silence of the lambs, all the while Erdan is supposed to protect Alsheikh.

Every additional day in which the suspect Netanyahu remains in office increases the danger that the damage he is causing Israeli democracy will prove irreversible. Whether the police recommend that he be indicted or not, Netanyahu is unfit to be prime minister.

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