Netanyahu Found His Mr. Clean

Sure, Sara Netanyahu’s deposit bottles might need washing at the Prime Minister’s Residence, but why would a decent man like Benny Begin agree to be the cleanser?

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Benny Begin
Benny BeginCredit: Daniel Bar-On
Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid

I have sympathy for people with the last name Begin. So Benny Begin, why did you do this to yourself and us? I’ve always softly conveyed to him my high regard and affection, since the time his girlfriend Dorit told me about him, that boy in her class.

He was talented and popular and didn’t want to live in the shadow of his father, or to benefit from the perks of his lineage. He was one of the good guys, free of complexes, even though it’s hard to be the “son of.”

I later got to know him up close. We cooperated as members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and its subcommittees. When we got into the details — for example, counterstrike capabilities on the battlefield of the future or the Mossad’s exploits in Amman — we indulged in creative thinking despite our differences of opinion.

Every time I get on the No. 26 bus and pay my senior citizens’ fare, the other passengers mention my senior-citizen friend. “Only you and Benny Begin use public transportation like we do,” they sigh, but I’m filled with a sense of comradeship. We’re two guys known for our modesty.

Everyone understands why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him to run on the Likud ticket in the upcoming election, but who knows why Begin accepted? Sure, Sara Netanyahu’s deposit bottles might need washing at the Prime Minister’s Residence, but why would a decent man agree to be the cleanser?

And not for the first time. He was also the cleanser for the late right-winger Rehavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi, whom Begin had described as a moral stain but then burnished when they ran on the same Knesset slate. Bibi may not be Gandhi, but he’s not exactly Mahatma either.

The day will come when Begin is forced to walk out the door in disgust once again, but his stature on the way out won’t be the same. And maybe an end will be put to this odd romance even before March 17, when it’s clear that more than Benny burnishing Bibi, Bibi is sullying Benny.

True, right-winger Moshe Feiglin wasn’t elected to the Likud ticket, as if Likud were coming back home. But Feiglinism is still alive in the party, where in the company of Zeev Elkin, Miri Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin and Tzipi Hotovely it’s hard to feel at home. After all, it was just two years ago they honored moderates Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan after disparaging them, and now of all times they remember Begin as some kind of air freshener or kashrut supervisor.

I never would have believed this would happen. Where would a spot be found for such a man among beauty queens Jana Khodriker and Linor Abargil, actress Eden Harel and journalist Erel Segal?

Is Benny a beauty king or a television star? Don’t tell me these offspring will agree to be pushed down the electoral list. Or are we too a generation that gets reserved slots on the slate?

The power of reserved slots is rising and will conquer the next Knesset. Soon there will be a Knesset caucus for it, to be joined by Manuel Trajtenberg, Yoel Hasson, Ksenia Svetlova, Eyal Ben-Reuven, Anat Berko, Yinon Magal, Sharon Gal and Anat Roth along with metastases from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, Avidgor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, Aryeh Deri’s Shas and the rabbis’ United Torah Judaism — no less than 60 members. As the oldest of would-be Knesset members, Begin should be at their helm, which would also buttress us, the senior citizens who are missing.

No, Begin didn’t do it for the Mitsubishi he’d get, but for the Mitsubibi. He was recruited to wipe up the stains of the ice cream, scented candles and alcohol at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

If Begin doesn’t know it, I’ll let him know. A person who is honest and to the point doesn’t have enough cleaning fluid to clean up everybody else.

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