A Government of Fumigation and Purification

A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el
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Yair Lapid at a Yesh Atid meeting, Monday.
Yair Lapid at a Yesh Atid meeting, Monday.Credit: Emil Salman
A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el

The mad panic gripping Likud – the despairing cries, the curses and invective, the unbridled incitement and Il Duce’s complete loss of composure – all provide the clearest possible evidence of the urgent need to oust this gang of rioters from government.

If these are the people who define the political right; if they are the ones on whom, as journalist Avishay Ben Haim claimed, the honor of Mizrahi Jews depends; if national values today amount to the tar and feathers in which they are rolling the “traitors” who dared try to set up an alternative government, then they must go. All of them, not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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This volcanic eruption will only intensify in the remaining days until a new government is sworn in – if the agreements survive until then, some deserter doesn’t flee and nobody changes their mind. And the truth is that it takes a great deal of personal courage to stand up to these mafia-style threats when Knesset members need guards to check their cars every day, escort them and their children and keep them away from crowds lest someone pull out a gun or throw a grenade at them.

The emerging government – and we can only hope it makes it through the home stretch, both physically and politically – won’t fulfill any voter’s dreams. Had such a government stood for election as a single unit, rather than being a makeshift contraption built on spare parts that don’t match, it probably wouldn’t have gotten the same number of seats as it has now.

It managed to do the impossible only thanks to the sole common denominator among its component parts – the will to oust Netanyahu. It’s a coalition of the many against a single man who is the essence of corruption, egotism, falsehood and fraud.

At first, regrettably, it seemed that the goal wasn’t important and persuasive enough. It lacked any ideological spine and was led by a delusional left that collected a few rightists with unsatisfied appetites for power along the way. On both the left and the right, the slogan “anyone but Bibi” seemed to be devoid of ideology, an empty slogan reflecting a personal battle stripped of any moral veneer or vision.

True, Netanyahu has been charged with criminal offenses, the scoffers said. He’s an irredeemable hedonist and exploiter, a swindler and a con man, and you can’t believe a word he says, but he’s still the lesser evil. Maybe he needs to go, they allowed, but Likud must continue to hold the steering wheel, because its rule will correct a historical error.

Yet without Netanyahu, Likud has no hope. Petty intriguers even proposed that someone else in the party be its prime ministerial candidate in his stead, and the insane rotation agreement they put on the table had the same goal – to leave Likud in power and Netanyahu in the prime minister’s residence.

Then it became clear that ousting Netanyahu wasn’t just a personal matter. It’s a national, ideological, democratic and cultural necessity.

Netanyahu created a political culture that sanctifies the supreme leader. He dictated the rules of a popular dictatorship and contempt for the legal system. He imprisoned half the country in a traitors’ ghetto and created three Jewish peoples in a single country – one in the territories and two, traitors and rightists, inside Israel. Netanyahu rode roughshod over minorities, planned to annex territory, put Israel on a collision course with the United States, controlled large swaths of the media and managed to convince the public there was no one else. And we haven’t even mentioned his corruption trial yet.

Netanyahu created a state that’s unfit for its citizens – a state led by a political militia with no restraints, that wasn’t accountable to anyone and thought itself eternal, until it rotted at the root. Even though a government led by Naftali Bennett will be run by ideologues – each member according to his or her own values – it won’t be an ideological government. It cannot be ideological if it wants to survive.

Rather, it will be a government created to fumigate and purify, so that we will be able to breathe here. That, after all, is the supreme value – the right to life.

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