Opinion

The Evil Beneath the Idiocy of an Israeli Minister's Remark About Slain Women

Zehava Galon
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A protest against violence against women in Rabin square in Tel Aviv.
A protest against violence against women in Rabin square in Tel Aviv.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Communications Minister David Amsalem’s response to the remarks by Lili Ben Ami, the sister of Michal Sela, who was murdered earlier this month, could perhaps have been attributed to his stupidity if he hadn’t gotten backing from Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

In response to Ben Ami’s complaint that the government had never funded its plan to prevent domestic violence, Amsalem said, “the police have to decide what its priorities are; the prime minister’s cigars or the murder of women.” While Levin said, “the enormous resources” invested in investigating the cases against the prime minister, “perforce come at the expense of many things.”

When one politician says something stupid, one can hope that it’s only him. But when another one joins in, it’s clear that behind the two idiots is another idiot who worded their talking points for them.

Although having to respond to these miserable remarks is frustrating, it’s still worth recalling that the coalition voted against establishing a parliamentary inquiry committee on the murder of women, because it knew that such a committee would force it to allocate resources.

The coalition has also, for two years, delayed implementing a plan to address domestic violence, and for three years it has delayed implementing the law that I initiated to provide a basket of rehabilitation services to women who leave battered women’s shelters. A bill that I submitted that deals with combating financial violence against women has gone nowhere in three-and-a-half years.

The people who have been dragging their feet on the laws, bills, and budgets are those who only recently celebrated the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been in power longer than David Ben-Gurion. One navigated a nascent state through a war against five armies, while the other spent every night editing Walla News.

If you scratch at the idiocy, you reveal beneath the surface a thick layer of evil. The Netanyahu cult has priests, an array of beliefs and talking points, which are becoming increasingly abnormal and shady. This week, for example, dozens of Likudniks repeated the tweet of a satiric user called “Fake Gadi Taub” who claimed, “The only way the prosecution can prove that it’s fair toward Netanyahu is if it totally exonerates him.” 

It seems that recently there is no argument that seems too ridiculous or strange. The real Taub, for example, one of the newer cult adherents who has managed to become its high priest, recently tweeted angrily that Netanyahu’s hearing began on the Fast of Gedalia – which commemorates the assassination of Gedaliah ben Ahikam, who was governor of Judea after the destruction of the First Temple – demonstrating that one needs a microscope to find the differences between him and his fake alias. 

Spiraling away from the truth inevitably leads even the less asinine to places where the ridiculous and absurd reign. Since stupidity is contagious, it behooves us to also give the simple, self-understood truth some air time.

For example, to recall that Netanyahu wasn’t investigated because of “positive coverage,” but because the evidence raised suspicions of a hostile takeover of a media outlet using 1.5 billion shekels (around $400 million) of public funds in an effort to sway an election.

That his wife was not investigated because of a few takeout orders, but because of 360,000 shekels in gourmet meals. That the Case 1000 investigation was not launched because of “gifts from friends,” but because of benefits worth some 20,000 shekels a month that Netanyahu got from a tycoon who never considered him a friend.

The investigations are not a “putsch.” They are what happen in a state of law when a person violates the law. And last, but not least: Women are not being murdered because of the investigations of the prime minister, but because if you’re not part of the cult, this government won’t even spit in your direction.