Analysis |

Multi-millionaire Netanyahu Wants Huge Tax Break in Midst of Coronavirus Recession

Even within the Likud ranks, Netanyahu's request for a tax break was tolerated with a degree of unease

Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter
Netanyahu and his loyalist in Likud Miki Zohar in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and his loyalist in Likud Miki Zohar in Jerusalem.Credit: Emil Salman
Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter

“What is the situation of the prime minister these days?” asked coalition chairman Miki Zohar, crestfallen, at a Knesset Finance Committee meeting which approved a million-shekel tax break for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He immediately gave a learned answer to his own question: “From morning until night, people are trying to cripple him economically … [Netanyahu] is persecuted all day by attorney generals, he's restricted from carrying out his duties, he's dealing with his and his family’s financial issues all day long.”

Only Zohar can express Netanyahu’s arrogance and swinishness. The multi-millionaire from Caesarea and Rehavia is “pissing from the diving board” on hundreds of thousands of citizens whose entire world has collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis, people who are deprived of income and really do feel economically crippled.

Likud MK Miki Zohar.Credit: Haaretz

Anyone who knows anything about the official residence of the prime minister in Jerusalem can identify the voice of “the first lady” speaking out of Zohar’s mouth. This is Sara Netanyahu’s song: endless complaining about being in need, about her husband’s paltry salary, about the impertinent demands of the gatekeepers (the few that are left) for transparency and some semblance of adequate governance.

Cautiously, one may say that what happened at the Finance Committee is not the doing of Benjamin Netanyahu. True, he’s a shameless hedonist and his wallet is a more fortified bunker than Hassan Nasrallah’s. But he still possesses some wisdom and discretion. If he wasn’t a puppet on a string, whose roost is ruled by two others who have completely come apart at the seams – his wife and son Yair – then he would have waited for better times.

To be presented now as forlorn, not having enough money to make it through the month, no time to deal with the coronavirus and Iran because of worries over being economically “crippled” is simply insane. In the clinical sense of the word.

Netanyahu knows that on this issue, most of his supporters don’t have sympathy for him. In the defamation campaign he is waging against the justice system, many Likudniks identify with him. But on his personal financial issues and the massive tax break he requested, the Likud tribe was, shall we say, uncomfortable.

And speaking of discomfort: Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party has meanwhile separated completely from the burnt-out remains of its spine. What motivated people to vote for Kahol Lavan time after time in three elections was Netanyahu’s corruption. The absence of its members from the committee meeting was one white flag too many, one kick too painful in the face of its voters.

These days, Kahol Lavan is shaking in its boots that the not-alternate prime minister Netanyahu will take the country to another election. Netanyahu is free to do whatever he wants now, as infuriating and disgusting as it may be. Benny Gantz and his party will back him with silence, or at most, sound a weak protest and move aside.

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