Opinion |

After the Flood

It may be that in the Hasmonean film in which Netanyahu lives, he counted on his son to continue the Jewish monarchy ruling Israel. But it seems the penny has dropped for Netanyahu: Yair isn't good for the Jews

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Netanyahu and his son Yair in Jerusalem in 2015
Netanyahu and his son Yair in Jerusalem in 2015Credit: THOMAS COEX/AFP

In an interview Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave this week to Fox News, he was presented by the fanboy interviewer as a 21st century Renaissance man, a kind of Leonardo Da Vinci of the Sayeret Matkal commando brotherhood. And indeed, while other world leaders spend their vacations on vanities, the prime minister took advantage of the interim days of Sukkot to host a Bible study circle. Some 30 guests crowded around the table, including the new faux elite of the patio – the remnant that survived the “elimination of the elites” that he so proudly oversaw.

It should be noted that he chose to focus on a chapter that was not exactly kosher, certainly not in the official syllabus of the Bible study circle: the Hasmonean Kingdom. But let’s not quibble, certainly not with the prime minister, and let’s not spoil the joy of Simchat Torah.

It looks like the man who made sure to tell the interviewer that he was born together with the State of Israel (a year after it was established) also synchronized its ending so that it will die together with him. The Hasmonean kingdom held on for nearly 80 years, the State of Israel must be assured of survival for 100 years.

Give Netanyahu 30 years, breaking the record of David Ben-Gurion in office as well as the Hasmoneans in the Land of Israel, and after him, the deluge. He can retire comfortably, rest on his laurels in the history books. Actually, why make do with the history books? Between Sukkot and Hanukkah, there’s certainly room to wedge in a new Jewish holiday bearing his name.

Some will jump to his defense: He didn’t mean that Israel will last for only another 30 years, he was demanding that at a minimum it will celebrate its centennial. From there, we’ll move on. But a glance at Netanyahu’s surroundings is enough to realize that they are dry and cracked. The state that Netanyahu heads is not ready to continue in any direction. There’s no political project. Netanyahu is not leading Israel anywhere, nor is anyone else in the leadership. Who are his political proteges? MK Yariv Levin? Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz? MK David Bitan? Does anyone believe that Netanyahu intends to pass the torch to them, or anyone else? Can any political talent sprout in his proximity?

At the start of the Fox interview, Netanyahu showed a branch taken from a tree that his father had planted in their yard. When he was five or six, he said, he saw his father digging around a sapling and at his father’s request he helped dig, water and fertilize the tree. A year later he saw his father doing the same thing, and wondered why. The tree is big, his father explained to him. Might Netanyahu have concluded from this that it’s enough to water once a year, and that’s why there are no political saplings in his surroundings, not to mention any big trees, from which the future political leadership will grow?

It cannot be ruled out that in the Hasmonean film in which Netanyahu lives, he counted on his natural heir, his biological offspring, to continue the Jewish monarchy ruling Israel. Unfortunately, that’s impossible. After the anti-Semitic collage that adorned the home page of neo-Nazi sites in the world, it seems the penny has dropped for the father: Yair isn’t good for the Jews.

In the interview he said he was trying to dissuade his sons from going into politics. One, he said, might, but he hoped not. That is small comfort: The state has been given 30 more years, but at least this will be the end of the miserable Netanyahu dynasty.