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An Absolutely Final Warning About Netanyahu

Uzi Baram
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Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement at a venue in Israel's Airport City near Tel Aviv on March 1, 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement at a venue in Israel's Airport City near Tel Aviv on March 1, 2020. Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP
Uzi Baram

According to the surveys, it seems the right-wing bloc is recovering somewhat, while the center-left bloc is in slight retreat. This forecast may be confirmed and it may turn out to be mistaken, since the pollsters are unable to predict the overall turnout, or the turnout in the Arab community. Nevertheless, any result will reflect the opinion of the citizens at the end of the ugliest election campaign we have known since the establishment of the state.

We saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being interviewed on Fox News, for example. When speaking to the American audience, who won’t give him a single vote, Netanyahu said that Kahol Lavan compares U.S. President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, and that its members are nurturing a powerful hatred against Trump. Another of Netanyahu’s typical lies, which was uttered with total nonchalance. He has no problem permeating the American public with hatred too, in the event that Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz forms the next government. Relations between Israel and the United States? What does Netanyahu care?

Bibi went gunning for his only real rival

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And we have yet to speak about his son. Honestly, I think Yair Netanyahu needs help. Maybe he’s already getting some and maybe not, but as of now the social media are flooded with aggressive, mocking and hate-filled messages coming from his keyboard, against a legitimate candidate for prime minister.

Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff who dared to run in the election for the premiership, is a man whose integrity is his essence. He can be criticized for a lack of political experience, but where are we headed if we don’t allow anyone to challenge Netanyahu? After all, we still recall the dirty implications against Gideon Sa’ar a few months ago, when he dared to “rebel” against Netanyahu and compete with him in the Likud leadership primaries.

I wonder about supporters of the prime minister – those who are not necessarily among the “base” or the gang of yes-men like Gadi Taub and his ilk. Doesn’t their hand shake when they give a stamp of approval to a candidate who has three indictments against him, including for bribery? Do they accept their leader’s desire to form a coalition with messianic religious believers, and hold a daily dialogue with abject Kahanists?

The criticism, which is basically legitimate, about the problems in the legal system – does it mean the system should be emptied of all substance? Will Netanyahu supporters accept the dismissal of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who courageously submitted the indictments against Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust?

Are supporters of the prime minister willing to live in a political culture where anything goes? A political culture in which the social media only empower that culture’s leaders? Don’t they realize that Netanyahu’s reelection, following his ugly campaign of incitement, is like spitting in the face of anyone who believes in multicultural, liberal democracy, which in spite of everything is still an integral part of Israeli culture? Do Netanyahu’s supporters see no problem with his cursing and viewing as traitors a fifth of the population under his rule, until anyone who draws close to them politically will also be condemned and turned into the enemy?

My political opinion is clear. Netanyahu has no intention of trying to bring about a peace agreement, he is planning a dangerous annexation. Netanyahu does not seek reconciliation, he seeks escalation. His domestic policy is endangering the civil authorities and aspires to shatter the rule of law. I don’t know what the voters’ decision will be Monday, and whether a government will be formed. On the other hand, I know that Netanyahu’s campaign should cause every thinking citizen to lose sleep, even if his opinion differs from mine.