Although both the enemies of U.S. President Donald Trump and the admirers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like to see a great similarity between the two, it would be wrong to include them in the same basket. The arguments are colorful and amusing, and may even be of some political use. Netanyahu’s followers certainly want to bask in the aura of the power and strength of Trump, and those who despise Trump are happy to attribute to him the same traits of corruption, deceit and lack of boundaries, of which Netanyahu has already been accused.
The media is also benefiting quite a bit from the suggested connections between the two. But both groups are misleading the public, and the result is serious damage to the confidence of the general public in the rationality of the political process.
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In reality these two leaders differ greatly from one another, as do their political and legal situations. Both are unquestionably pursuers of publicity, personal glory and the good things in life. But what Trump was able to obtain for himself (or his family’s money obtained for him) in decades of wheeling and dealing, Netanyahu tried and apparently succeeded to generate for himself and his family as illegal favors, thanks to his status as prime minister. That is why three criminal indictments have already been served against Netanyahu, for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, not to mention the affair of the submarines, the shares and the business connections with Nathan Milikowsky, which have yet to be properly investigated.
As opposed to the tough legal battle against government corruption that is being conducted against Netanyahu, Trump’s impeachment process in the House of Representatives is purely political. The plaintiffs are only members of the rival party, not the country’s legal authorities, and accordingly the expected acquittal of Trump by members of his party, the Senate Republicans, will be entirely political.
The indictment process against Netanyahu is happening in the real world, as part of the relationship between the general public being represented by the State Prosecutor’s Office, and a political failure, who is now trying with all his might to prevent his removal. The move against Trump, on the other hand, is not being conducted between the public and the president, but is taking place only inside the political bubble, where it will also pop.
Netanyahu’s fans never tire of claiming that even the indictments against him are part of some political persecution, but the democratic system in Israel is presently proving that its considerations are civic only, and it is interested only in the good of the country. Many of the heads of the State Prosecutor’s Office, including the attorney general, the state prosecutor, several of his deputies and even the former police commissioner, apparently come from a social and political background that is not necessarily opposed to Netanyahu’s worldview. And yet their concern for clean government is stronger than any consideration that is not to the point.
As opposed to the political move in the United States, which is designed mainly to damage the president’s reputation and his chances of success in the future, the public procedure in Israel is clean, and attests, despite all the problems, to the resilience of the legal system.
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But the main and most important difference between the two heads of state lies in the fact that Trump has only begun the historic process of undermining the left-wing consensus in the United States, a consensus that has challenged the American way of life and shattered the confidence of Americans in themselves and their future, as widely reflected in cultural phenomena such as popular television and literary dystopias.
In Israel, on the other hand, the process of undermining that Netanyahu began 25 years ago is now ending, when the sane forces at the center of the political stage have already become strong enough, and are once again capable of running the country, and removing Netanyahu and his people from that stage.