The “screaming meeting” of the cabinet that took place last Thursday night taught us how deep Benjamin Netanyahu’s hysteria runs; how terribly frightened he is. After all, even during regular times he’s a known scaredy-cat who buckles under pressure, but these days he’s totally caving in.
His slip of the tongue: “Now we’re at 5,000 killed…” basically says it all. He admits that we’re talking about people who were killed, i.e., people whose lives were played with; that someone is responsible for their deaths. And he knows that that someone is him. He also sees how the issue of those killed is getting more and more attention from the media and the opposition, and understands that the public is also starting to get it. Netanyahu is the one responsible for over 5,100 deaths, and that number rises every day.
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His loss of temper, shouting and hysteria during the cabinet meeting stem from the fear that because of those thousands killed, honest Likudniks won’t vote for him. He fears that someone whose father or grandfather was killed during the pandemic will take up the gauntlet and sue him personally in court for a long list of political blunders – the testing and masks blunders at the start of the pandemic, the airport blunder, the ultra-Orthodox blunder, the fines blunder, the failure to cut off chains of infection, and so on.
He fears that the atmosphere generated until the election will lead to a failure to obtain 61 Knesset seats, making it impossible for him to establish a government that will give him immunity and a “French law” (which would prevent a sitting prime minister from being prosecuted). The moment that occurs, his tresses will be shorn and he will not be able to intimidate the attorney general and the judicial system. He won’t be able to attack them through legislation, incitement, and personal threats. And then, his submissive underlings, the Yariv Levins and Amir Ohanas, will end up on the Knesset’s back benches and he will be tried like a regular person, with a good chance of being convicted and ending up in prison.
So now he’s a wounded leopard with no restraints. And in fact, during that same cabinet meeting, Netanyahu tried to carry out a constitutional revolution. Contrary to a Basic Law, he tried to get the lockdown extended until Sunday night at midnight, so that his trial wouldn’t be able to resume Monday. Luckily Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit stood in the breach, and declared this an illegal decision that was null and void. On Monday Netanyahu’s lawyers tried to get the evidentiary stage of his trial delayed by another three months. It’s a strategy: Put off everything until after the election, and then establish an immunity government.
In that same screaming meeting, which will be recalled for years, Netanyahu tried to blame Gantz for the coronavirus deaths. That’s his holy policy, to find other people to blame for his failures. One day he will blame Herod for exclusive responsibility for the economic collapse. Based on what was leaked, one can conclude that one of Netanyahu’s own people gave the recording to the media, an unprecedented act. After all, it was Netanyahu who banned publication of the cabinet’s coronavirus discussions for 30 years.
According to the recording, with infinite chutzpah, he said to Gantz, “The blood of many Israelis will be on your hands.” Thus Gantz, the orchestra’s 10th violin, became the prime culprit for the deaths. But Gantz, instead of answering him back by saying Netanyahu was responsible for the 5,000 deaths, answered him with awe and reverence, “Don’t teach me about responsibility for human life.” Some comeback.
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Just imagine what Netanyahu would have said about Gantz if the roles had been reversed. He would have gone to the town square and shouted, “Where are you hiding, Gantz? Come see what 50 people killed daily means, a whole bus going up in flames!”
We have another 42 days left until the election, and these will be terrible days in which everything will erupt. The swords will be drawn everywhere and every public norm will be trampled. Netanyahu will do everything, and I mean everything, to win. This is not a regular struggle over power, honor and money. This is a struggle about going to prison. And Netanyahu hates the smell of Lysol.