Ending the Grotesquerie of Netanyahu Serving as Prime Minister

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touring Israel's northern border, November 24, 2019.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touring Israel's northern border, November 24, 2019. Credit: Haim Zach / GPO

The sight unfolding before our eyes in recent days has only one meaning: A prime minister who has been indicted on three serious charges is trying with all his might to arouse a popular revolt in order to evade being sentenced by the legal authorities in his country. Although there is room to hope that most Israelis are saner than their leader, it’s clear that the man and his courtiers have abandoned all restraint and are playing with extremely dangerous fire.

Twenty four years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu is once again doing everything possible to set the streets on fire. This time the goal is not to foil a diplomatic plan, but to eliminate the legal authorities in an effort to save his own skin from detailed indictments filed against him.

Not only has Netanyahu been indicted in three significant cases – with quite a few other cases against him surprisingly closed, and some not even investigated – but he dares to incite and fire up the masses against the legal system for which he bears supreme responsibility. And all this after he himself appointed the police commissioner, the attorney general and even the state prosecutor, apparently with the intention of ensuring that these appointees, presumably from among “our people,” would close the cases against him.

The State of Israel is fortunate that these three responsible men were not deterred in the final analysis, and proved their integrity and their unique qualities as exemplary public servants. As opposed to them it’s astonishing to see Likud, which ostensibly represents statesmanlike values, unable as yet to come to its senses and to put an end to the dangerous and grotesque situation that is taking place before its eyes. Gideon Sa’ar’s hesitant attempt to present some kind of challenge to Netanyahu’s delusions is only a start. Aren’t there three or four other righteous people in Likud, who are sane enough to join him and end this disgraceful saga?

If the utter chaos we are seeing at present had been confined to the sophistry of the presumably serious media – which claim that according to the Basic Law on The Government, a prime minister should not be barred from heading a transition government or forming a new government, even after serious indictments have been filed against him – we could still accept the public discourse on the issue to some extent.

The law really is vague, and leaves a lacuna that the authors naturally never imagined. Who ever expected the prime minister of Israel to be accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust? And in what normal democracy does a prime minister with three serious indictments against him refuse to resign in order to fight for his innocence as a private citizen rather than as the head of the system?

It should be clear to the members of the judicial system that this discussion is baseless. There is no logical way that a leader of a democratic country, who didn’t win the election and was unable to form a government, can continue to get the legal authorities’ approval to serve as acting prime minister, after being indicted on three charges. Certainly it is unconscionable that he should be eligible to form a government, as long as his innocence hasn’t been proven.

This entire discussion is absurd. But the truly frightening problem is that Netanyahu is embarking on a desperate, wild and personal street fight against the legal system, while inciting the masses against those responsible for law enforcement. It’s shocking to see a prime minister embarking on an autoimmune attack against the leading law and order institutions in his country, while dragging along the justice minister, who is directly threatening those who are subject to his authority. It’s so dangerous, and must be halted immediately. We must not deliberate too much on this matter.

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