Joining the Blacklist

Netanyahu is making promises to us just as one makes promises to a battered woman: Give me just one more chance.

Netanyahu is making promises to us just as one makes promises to a battered woman: Give me just one more chance. But anyone who lies down with Bibi will get up with black and blue marks. Even before he has formed a government we already miss the bad old Bibi. Ten years ago it ended badly; now it's beginning badly. This is the man we knew - an adventurer and a man who causes rifts.

He is starting a battle on the interior front by appointing Lieberman's envoys to the Justice Ministry and the Public Security Ministry of all things; and he'll be starting a battle on the exterior front with Lieberman himself. Although Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann is going, Friedmannism remains. The Land of Israel of Dan Meridor and Benny Begin is acquired through prohibitions. And until they get their country whole, they're getting it flawed.

If we're already committing national hara-kiri, then let's do it in the soft underbelly. In any case, this right-wing, ultranationalist government has a horrifying image, and from now on it looks like Yvet will be its mouthpiece; and what a big, ugly mouth.

So why rush to judgment, why reject ahead of time. After all, the minister-designate is already moderating previous statements; maybe he'll surprise us yet. Maybe Caligula's horse would have surprised us too, had he only been given the opportunity to serve as consul. Didn't the mouth of the ass once open - to utter a bray of wisdom? Is that the precedent they're relying on?

The international community usually accepts the democratic election of people whom it finds hard to swallow. The rejecter is likely to be rejected, and there are many people with defects. And nevertheless, Israel itself, which is not especially choosy about its friends, has quite often rejected elected officials.

Franjo Tudjman was elected at one time as president of Croatia. As a history professor, he wrote a disgusting anti-Semitic book, which partially denies the Holocaust. He wanted very much to visit us, but Israel wasn't interested. All his pleading did not help. The gates remained closed.

Or Gianfranco Fini, who heads an important Italian party, a former foreign minister and today the president of the parliament. He once claimed that "Mussolini was the greatest statesman in the 20th century," and that was enough for us to treat him as persona non grata. He had to admit to his sin - to be rebaptized and reborn - in order for us to be placated and to welcome him.

When Jean-Marie Le Pen's daughter Marine asked to join the European Union delegation, a hint was conveyed to her that she would do well to remain in France, just as a hint had been conveyed earlier to her father.

And when Joerg Haider's party joined the coalition in Austria we severed relations, and called on the entire world to follow our example.

Haider, for his part, didn't even dream of coming here, he understood that he had no chance, as did Kurt Waldheim as the president of Austria. This does not exhaust the list of racist-anti-Semitic-fascists - the blacklist - for whom is Israel is out of bounds.

That is what Israel did to others - and justly so - and it's a shame that our country was not more strict. We can reasonably assume that others will be found who will do what Israel did. Let us therefore not be surprised if the new minister is not permitted entry here and there, although our relations with Belarus will probably become closer.

We can guess that in several countries they are already planning to welcome him in the spirit of the times - by removing their shoes. Prepare the Kleenex, and the protests.