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Most Atrocious Government in Israeli History Should Be Put Out of Its Misery

Netanyahu-Gantz government will become a caretaker government as Israel lurches toward its fourth election in two years

Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter
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People walk on a bridge under an election campaign billboard for the Kahol Lavan party led by Benny Gantz, left, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February, 18, 2020.
People walk on a bridge under an election campaign billboard for the Kahol Lavan party led by Benny Gantz, left, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February, 18, 2020. Credit: Oded Balilty / AP
Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter

Death throes are naturally unpleasant to watch. The past two days, which have been among the ugliest in the current government’s history, underscore the urgent need to euthanize it. The suffering – theirs and ours – must stop.

This creature, now six months old, was born in unnatural circumstances. A suspension mechanism was implanted in its body with malice aforethought by one of its parents. In another month, on December 24 (or, less likely, even earlier), it will reach its unmourned end, and not a moment too soon.

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The most atrocious government in Israel’s history, which has given political cynicism a bad name, will become a caretaker government. Israel will lurch toward elections, for the fourth time in two years.

The vitally needed committee of inquiry into Israel’s purchase of submarines and missile boats that was established by Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud a convenient pretext for dismantling the government.

“Benny Gantz is using the Israel Defense Forces for political purposes,” Netanyahu said, inaccurately, at a meeting of Likud Knesset members.

“This is a disgrace!” scolded the man whose conduct in the worst case of security-related corruption in Israel’s history has 1,000 question marks hovering over it. “This is a rigged committee; its conclusions are rigged.”

This is the same man who, time after time, used the Mossad and material from other intelligence agencies to glorify himself (see the revelation of Iran’s nuclear archives).

This is the man whose nighttime trip to Saudi Arabia – which he concealed from his foreign and defense ministers, no doubt out of fear that they’d leak it to the Iranians – was leaked to the media before the night was out. One of his advisers tweeted something, then immediately erased it. It’s a well-known trick.

Earlier, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin aired his learned opinion, ostensibly from the heights of his lofty position. “This is a completely political committee,” he thundered. “The height of cynicism. It’s obsessive persecution in an attempt to topple you, the prime minister.”

At every juncture where he’s forced to choose between statesmanship and petty politics, Levin always chooses the fawning company of MKs Miki Zohar and Shlomo Karhi.

As expected, someone has already accused the committee chairman, Judge Amnon Straschnov, of political bias (Zohar, who else?). And let there be no doubt: At this very moment, researchers, perhaps even thousands of private investigators, are already delving into the private lives of Straschnov and his colleagues on the committee, Maj. Gen. (res.) Abraham Ben-Shoshan and Yael Grill. Coming soon on Channel 20.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a face mask attends a government Cabinet meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Jerusalem, June 21, 2020.Credit: Abir Sultan/ Pool European Press

Also on Monday, in what was termed a “dramatic announcement,” Shas chairman and Interior Minister Arye Dery, posing as a Supreme Court justice, if not a judge on the heavenly court, declared “Unfortunately, I can conclude that the defense minister crossed a red line out of political considerations.”

Dery somehow managed to restrain himself during six months of countless gross violations of the coalition agreement by Likud and Netanyahu against Gantz and Kahol Lavan. Granted, in private conservations, he complained about the situation, and legend has it that he once even hung up the phone on Netanyahu.

But in his view, no red line was ever crossed. Now he too has a pretext to abandon the guarantee he gave Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi that he’d make sure the prime minister’s job rotated as planned (for instance, if Netanyahu used the state budget as a political weapon).

The political blocs are lining up in the logical fashion. The alliance between the ultra-Orthodox parties and Likud, even if it sometimes seemed weak when viewed through the veil of the coronavirus, remains strong.

Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett also joined the chorus of people grumbling about Gantz’s “political considerations.” To avoid looking like a diehard Netanyahu loyalist and make himself acceptable to everyone, he muttered something similar about Netanyahu.

Granted, we must admit that Gantz’s motive for establishing the committee was political. If there were a budget for 2021 and the rotation was a few weeks away, Gantz would have blocked any such initiative with his own body.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t affect the panel’s work, the witnesses who will appear before it or its conclusions. And that’s what matters.