Netanyahu Played the Annexation Card Too Soon, and He Knows It

yossi klein
Yossi Klein
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Illustration: Netanyahu and the West Bank.
Illustration: Netanyahu and the West Bank.Credit: Eran Wolkowski
yossi klein
Yossi Klein

A thousand wise men can’t retrieve a stone that one fool threw into a well. A thousand wise men, commentators, associates and advisers can’t catch the annexation that one fool threw into the air.

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He heard that people think he’s a magician and a political genius, and he began to believe it. The annexation next week by the genius of Jerusalem is like appointing a blockhead general as education minister and a drama queen as foreign minister.

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Now Benjamin Netanyahu is standing next to the wise men who are trying to find the stone in the well. He too scratches his head and searches for a solution. Oy, how he’d like to return to the day the annexation was still inside his pocket, like a promise only he could fulfill. He wanted to wait for the right moment and he missed it. How he’d love to be able to put the genie back in the bottle.

It’s too late. The annexation is out. It’s shrunken, scrawny and pathetic. The settlers ask: Is that all there is? We’re going to be thrown out of EuroLeague basketball and the Eurovision Song Contest for this? This is the “Greater Land of Israel,” the “land of our forefathers”? This miserable 30 percent? When he says “only the settlement blocs,” they ask if he’s really from Mapai, the Labor Party precursor.

His wife and one of his sons frown at him. He apologizes. He explains that he had a little accident; premature ejaculation can happen to anybody. Come on, he says, since when do you take me so seriously; think of it like moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, like naming a new community in the Golan after Donald Trump, like that well-organized system I promised for handling the second and third waves of the coronavirus.

They remind him that you have to play the cards you’re dealt, and that his hand was pretty good. Only thing is, he played the annexation card too soon. What does he have left? True, a third coronavirus wave is still a strong card, but the Iranian threat has lost momentum.

Annexation is the ace. It’s the card that has to be saved until the evidentiary phase, or the next election. No one cares about annexation now. “What’s your hurry?” the son asks.

The kid’s right. The annexation won’t rehire a single woman who lost her job in the pandemic. It won’t erase from memory the poor guy who lost his home. The annexation won’t restore the public’s faith in the government. Without faith there's no hope, and there's neither faith nor hope when the person asking you to wear a face mask isn’t wearing one himself. There are only threats, warnings and fines.

The corrupt chaos at the top trickles down. The inflated government, the tax breaks, the prime minister’s residences and the motorcades can’t be separated from what happens on the street. The smell of anarchy is in the air.

If you don’t use force, they won’t even piss in your direction. If you don’t cry on TV, they’ll laugh at you. The protest will become more violent, more frightening, and eventually the demonstrators will reach Netanyahu himself. He can’t keep blaming everything on Itamar Grotto, the deputy director general of the Health Ministry.

The idea of the annexation is racism; discriminating between the superior and the inferior. The racism virus can’t be destroyed with hand sanitizer, it’s more dangerous and resistant than the coronavirus, it adapts quickly to heat and humidity, and it’s very contagious. You won’t believe how many racism carriers walk among us, you’d be amazed how many confirmed cases there are.

Once, there were expressions of racism but not race laws. We don’t need laws to know that there are first-class citizens and second-class citizens. If the principle of separation is right when it comes to Palestinians and settlers, it’s right among Jews. This separation won’t stop at the checkpoints. It will make aliyah. It will receive benefits and make demands.

If not everyone is equal before the law, then Ashkenazim are superior to Mizrahim, ultra-Orthodox to secular Jews and young people to old people – or vice versa, depending on who has more power. On our animal farm some animals will always be more equal than others. It goes without saying that we’re all superior to black people and Arabs.

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