Analysis

It's Now Clear: Netanyahu Won't Rest Until a Journalist's Blood Is Spilled

Netanyahu and his family see before them the danger of forced separation from the official residence on Balfour Street, from immunity and power, and they are losing it

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cyber conference in Israel, June 2019.
Avishag Shaar-Yashuv

If anyone had doubts, they were completely dispelled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s horror of a Twitterstorm two minutes after Shabbat ended: Netanyahu will not rest until blood is spilled – the blood of a journalist. There is no other interpretation for what he said in a live Facebook video, or growled to be exact, to his enthusiastic devotees, with the darkened fields of Caesarea behind him and a hidden whisperer alongside him. (For the latest election polls – click here)

The prime minister of Israel called on his many followers to take action. He accused the excellent reports by Guy Peleg, the Channel 12 News legal reporter, as well as his editors and colleagues, of perpetrating an attack. Breathless, inflamed and coughing, he repeated the word five times: "Attack! Attack on democracy! A real attack!"

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To dispel any doubts, and so that the uninvolved would not be hurt, he mentioned the perpetrators by name: Avi Weiss, director of the news company, Avi Nir, Channel 12 franchisee Keshet chief, and shareholders Drorit Wertheim and Yitzhak Tshuva. Peleg is just a “puppet,” the threats against him were made up, and the bodyguard he was assigned by the news company is a “fake bodyguard” (said the hero both of whose sons have bodyguards under pressure by him and his wife).

We know what should be the fate of perpetrators. The man who more than two decades ago marched in front of a coffin (which he didn’t see, of course, a meter behind him) in a protest against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and who incited from a balcony in Zion Square, with posters of Rabin in SS uniform below him (which he didn’t see either), has gone back to his evil ways. Or, as the verse says in another context, as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. He seeks chaos, violence and loss of restraint that will allow him to show off his “leadership” and take control of what's happening.

Before the Jewish day of rest began, Netanyahu published a post in which he called for the boycott of Channel 12 broadcasts. Yes, to hurt them in their pocketbook, as was done once in other times, in other countries. Last week, Haaretz reported Netanyahu had ordered ministers and Knesset members from his party to boycott the conference of Channel 12 influencers, "so as not to give them legitimacy.” Meanwhile, Likud campaign headquarters has been dispatching party representatives to be interviewed on Channel 12's news shows.

The testimonies of state’s witnesses who were among his most loyal associates (Shlomo Filber is the star of the moment) and were broadcast last week almost every evening on Channel 12 (“Fake Channel 12 news,” as he puts it), drive him crazy. He understands the legal implications, he understands what will happen to him if he doesn’t form a government after September 17, and he takes his uncontrollable rage out on the messenger and the courageous, free press. This is after he made a pitiful and failed attempt on Friday to prevent the broadcast of the transcripts from his interrogations in corruption probes on Channel 12’s weekly Friday evening news program.

What we have been experiencing recently is more complex than weak nerves and many-layered hysteria. It is a political tactic. To win on September 17, Netanyahu has to have an enemy. Not an opponent. Opponents are for the weak. Enemies are bitter and dangerous and they unify the tribe. Enemies are what moves voters to get out and vote. Enemies rouse hatred and a killer instinct.

Once there was a left wing, now there’s the media, which of course he associates with the current political reality. “Fake Channel 12 news,” is also the studio that treats his rivals supposedly sympathetically. He wants an enlisted media, canine, as ingratiating as Channel 20 and Israel Hayom newspaper.

How he loves the “journalists” there and those who have penetrated Army Radio and the Kan broadcasting company and are in direct contact, while airing, with his spokesmen. Today he is sure, they will continue to parrot his verses, wail his whines, and incite his incitements in their broadcasts and articles.

The prime minister, his eldest son and his wife – the collective axis of evil urges, madness and hatred – see before them the danger of forced separation from the official residence on Balfour Street, from immunity and ruling power, and it is closer than ever. They are losing it. What we saw yesterday on Twitter – without doubt a must-see for every citizen of voting age – was the bitter fruit of a weekend in the bosom of family. And we have 16 days to go.