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Two Refined Racists From Gantz's Party Foil His Chance at Replacing Netanyahu

Right-wing Kahol Lavan lawmakers would rather immortalize Netanyahu than be on the same side as the Arabs

Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter
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Benny Gantz addresses supporters at Kahol Lavan headquarters in Tel Aviv, March 3, 2020.
Benny Gantz addresses supporters at Kahol Lavan headquarters in Tel Aviv, March 3, 2020.Credit: Gali Tibbon/AFP
Yossi Verter
Yossi Verter

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz has three options after the third Israeli election that once again no body won: He can establish a narrow government with the active support of Arab parties, enter a broad government under Benjamin Netanyahu, or slide toward a fourth election.

Bibi limps to election 'victory.' But he didn't win

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, has only one option: another election. It will allow him to remain prime minister until October, at which point he can hope to achieve a decisive victory the fourth time around. Netanyahu's prime objective is to appoint an attorney general to his liking, who would delay the legal proceedings against him. A decisive Netanyahu victory will facilitate the demise of whatever statesmanship and sanity still remains in Israel. 

Benny Gantz's option to establish a government with the Arab parties of the Joint List seems like the most viable choice between plague, cholera and leprosy. It would mean heading a narrow government of only 40 Knesset lawmakers. A narrow government would have difficulty functioning, but at least it couldn’t be brought down.

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However, the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of Kahol Lavan, otherwise known as Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, have successfully foiled their leader's only chance to become prime minister. Hendel and Hauser oppose a government that is supported by Arab lawmakers. The idea gives them chills. They would rather immortalize Netanyahu than be assisted by the legitimate representatives of the Arab population. The Arab lawmakers do sometimes say aggravating things that Israelis find hard to digest, but they cause no damage. Hendel and Hauser, however, prefer a man who is accused of bribery, a man who lies, incites, besmirches and (allegedly) spies on his rivals.

Why? Because Netanyahu is Jewish and they are Arabs. The bottom line is that this, too, is racism. Not the sweaty, raging and violent kind that the emissaries of Balfour Street scream on the streets and on social media. This is an educated, buttoned-up, cultured racism. (After all, Hendel did say he comes from a culture of "concerts in Vienna.")

These two gentlemen were not chosen by any public. Their electoral worth is zero. They don’t represent anyone but themselves. If after the second election one could have claimed that they brought two “soft right” seats to Kahol Lavan, in the third election round this claim died, because the right-wingers all went back to Netanyahu's Likud. Kahol Lavan voters want one thing and one thing only: To end Netanyahu’s rule immediately.

Kahol Lavan lawmakers Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel in the Knesset.
Kahol Lavan lawmakers Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel in the Knesset.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

The two men who were chosen solely by the grace of Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon, are stubbornly clinging to their seats. If they were honest and brave, they would immediately resign from the Knesset. They owe this to Ya’alon, the man who integrated them into his party. Ya’alon is no less a rightwing ideologue than them. He knows, as they do, that no Palestinian state will be established and no land will be ripped from Israel during a possible Gantz term. But most importantly, Ya'alon understands that a fourth election might destroy Kahol Lavan and any chance of removing Netanyahu. Gantz knows this too.

Another actor in this endless saga is Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman. Even the Arab-invalidator in Chief is prepared to turn a blind eye to the Joint List's support in order to get rid of Netanyahu. He is also aware that such a move would destroy his future political career. He will be castigated for hooking up with “terror supporters." He will no longer be the kingmaker, but a historical footnote.

One last word about a clear and present danger: Benny Gantz is the most threatened man in the country. He is a walking target, but only gets security from the Knesset Guard. The incitement against him is similar to what Israel experienced before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The raging far right is supported by the prime minister's circle, who himself is silent. What is he waiting for? Netanyahu should immediately order the Shin Bet to protect Gantz.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu did everything they could to provide the lady and her sons fulltime security (which comes with a car and driver). Why is their whole family in danger, when the Olmert family that preceded them walked around unaccompanied? Maybe those occupying the Prime Minister's Residence have the answers. Netanyahu does as he's told there, and he's not doing a thing.

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