Opinion |

Netanyahu Is Worse Than Trump, Don’t Believe a Word He Says

Netanyahu wants everyone in Israel to talk only about issues like Iran and Hezbollah, anything that will overshadow the criminal cloud hovering over him

Uzi Baram
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an event in his offices on December 3, 2017.
Uzi Baram

Important events happen in Israel – some benefit the country and others drag it into blood-soaked wars. Naturally, its citizens reconcile themselves to their leaders’ decisions, for good or bad. There are socioeconomic and cultural decisions that are supposed to improve the people’s situation, and there are decisions that might lead to unintended consequences.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, is a leader not to be trusted one bit. You can never know if his statements stem from thought or an emotional whim. You can’t understand his moves, but you have to accept that a giant nation elected a leader with a grotesque personality for reasons that are hard to explain, perhaps because of the opponent he faced.

Benjamin Netanyahu is not Trump. He is wiser, smarter. He has better political judgment at home and abroad. But given the corruption investigations into him, Israelis get a leader worse than even Trump. In other words, you should never believe the prime minister’s word.

If the bill preventing the police from publishing their recommendations following an investigation were on the U.S. agenda, Trump wouldn’t deny his personal motives. He might also admit that he was born in the United States and not in Kenya.

Netanyahu can’t say this, for he has shared with the public his witty saying: “There will be nothing because there is nothing.” But after the investigations into him by the police, he changed his tune and was willing to burn every good part in order to be rescued from the charges coming to light.

Netanyahu was terrified of the police investigations. He saw the material piling up, the worrying connections, and decided that the public mustn’t see the material. He understood that the dialogue with “the people” was no longer working, and that he erred in minimizing the citizen’s natural sense of justice, including that of his supporters.

So he gave up his opposition to personalized legislation, harnessed the vulgarity (yes, that’s the word) and lack of inhibitions of Likud MKs David Bitan and David Amsalem and the acceptance of the dangerous justice minister. And he decided to pass the bill at any price.

We mustn’t be impressed by his “repentance” Sunday. His request from Amsalem that “the bill be formulated so that it won’t apply to the investigation involving me” – is throwing sand in the public’s eyes. Netanyahu understands that he’s in dire straits with the public and is trying to turn back the hands of time.

But it’s too late. We mustn’t believe any utterance emitted from his lips. Not the “existential” battles that he’s preparing on the northern front, not the glorious coordination with Vladimir Putin, not his friendship with anonymous Arab countries, not legislation against “subversive organizations” like Breaking the Silence – an organization of idealists, quite nave, who fall prey to incitement and slander.

Netanyahu wants everyone in Israel to talk only about Iran, about Hezbollah, which is sharpening its fingernails, about the horrible dangers on our southern border, about Trump’s benevolence toward Jerusalem, about any subject that will distance the information-receiving public from the criminal and ethical cloud hovering over him. He has one goal and that’s to advance the Organization for Rescuing Benjamin Netanyahu. We mustn’t believe one word that comes from this man’s lips. Not one word.

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