Jerk? Doormat? Or Perhaps a Crook?

B. Michael
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Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi at the Knesset, Jerusalem, May 20, 2019
B. Michael

That is the riddle now occupying Israel’s finest analytical minds: How did we get to this point of grotesquerie? Opinions are divided between the followers of the theory of folly and the disciples of the doormat doctrine. In other words, are we talking about a lack of intelligence or a lack of backbone?

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Both of these theories are easy to confirm. Suffice it to glance at a few newspapers and keep half an eye on the negotiations to be aware of the infinite idiocy and the extreme malleability that oozes from every word uttered by the two retired generals and from every coalitionary clause that slips down their throats.

It is inconceivable, however, that two such complete imbeciles, or such entirely spineless creatures, happened into the joint leadership of a party completely by chance. Nature abhors such cruel coincidence.

Given all this, I offer a third theory. More complimentary. More pleasant. More befitting of a pair of generals who killed so many Arabs for the sake of their nation: The malice option. Fraud. Deceit. Not the common, petty con of vote-stealing, but rather a premeditated scheme. A clever plot to rescue Bibi from prosecution and prison and keep him in power.

This is the only possible explanation for many of the bizarre actions taken by Ashkegantz (or Gantzkenazi): the sickening boasts about how many Arabs they killed; the decision to add Moshe Ya’alon and his boys to their party, despite explicit warnings that they were moles. (There was a slight hiccup here, when Ya’alon demonstrated a toxic tendency to uphold principles and the truth and nearly ruined the operation.) There’s no other explanation for the right-wing/Haredi-Zionist mantle that has hovered above them from the start: Hod Betzer, Chili Tropper, Yoaz Hendel, Zvi Hauser, right-wingers all, settlers in their souls, pro-annexation to the bone, provided service to Bibi in their pasts and presumably also in their futures.

That is also the only way to make sense of the lame, limping, crippled and unintelligible election campaign that the slate of retired generals led.

And then came the three elections in less than a year. The first was a draw. Bibi was saved. The second got messy. The side whose stated goal was evicting the abomination from Balfour Street won 65 Knesset seats, more than half of the 120-seat legislature. At first glance, 20 minutes would have been sufficient time to put together a government, right? Nope. The persistent anti-Arab racism of the “center,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s best friend, came back and rescued him.

In the third election, the cat came entirely out of the bag. All of the weapons were brought out when the possibility arose of finally placing the legislative branch against (and not under) the executive branch and passing a few necessary purity laws against those who grasped the horns of the altar: The moles were called out of their burrows. The mythological stretcher was recruited. The words unity and emergency were brought out of mothballs and waved around energetically. The secret talks with the unhinged family members went into high gear.

And that’s how we got to where we are today. Coincidence? No way. There a guiding hand.

“But why?” asks the asker, why go to all this bother in order to save the ruler? It’s obvious: Out of ideological solidarity.

For religious reasons. In memory of everything they learned at Yeshivat Or Etzion, a religious military prep school. Out of a passion for power and a dread of power. Out of love for the Land of Israel and hatred for its inhabitants.

And because I am known for my good-heartedness, I am willing – in exchange for appropriate compensation, of course – to permit them to use my “premeditated plot” theory in their memoirs and autobiographies. After all, better to be thought a clever, cunning, racist, malicious, power-hungry knave than to go down in history as a mere idiot, loser and doormat.

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