The slates of Knesset candidates were closed last week. It was a holiday for the castrated. The castrated are those who understand the damage being caused by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but aren’t saying so. Those same right-wingers who deep in their hearts don’t want a continuation of Netanyahu’s rule, but whose moves are determined by the royal family, even if they oppose it with all their might.
Nobody will say of Likud ministers Miri Regev, Yariv Levin and David Amsalem that they are castrated – because they say what they mean, and mean what they say, and they, for example, can read and take pleasure in the op-ed by Ravit Hecht (“Yes, sit with Netanyahu,” August 1).
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One of those castrated ones, in my opinion, is Tzachi Hanegbi. And I regret that. When Hanegbi was in the Kadima party he did not cast doubt on the importance of the disengagement from Gaza, and sometimes I even felt that our political opinions were not far apart. Many considered him a candidate to replace Netanyahu as the head of Likud. But Netanyahu chose Hanegbi to convey the despicable message that “The extreme right is preferable to the left – a million times over.”
Who are the leftists? Benny Gantz? Gabi Ashkenazi? Moshe Ya’alon? Hanegbi knows he has no dispute with them. In different circumstances he would have agreed to run with them and even to curse far-right candidates Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel. Hanegbi has no obligation to express what is concealed deep inside him during these days of an election campaign, but he is definitely among those who after the election are likely to be heard saying: Yes to Likud, no to Netanyahu.
And what about Avi Dichter? Just a few years ago he appeared in the film “The Gatekeepers,” in which former heads of the Shin Bet security service express opposition to Israel’s policy and its behavior in the territories, and infuriated Netanyahu’s voters when he said, “You don’t create peace with military methods. … As someone who knows the Palestinians well, I maintain that there should be no problem creating a genuine relationship of trust with them.”
Suddenly Dichter has become the main spokesman in the service of His Highness. Why? Because he wants to wink at all the Netanyahu admirers who are unwilling to accept anyone who doesn’t express unreserved support for the ruler. Dichter is also one of those who we are likely to hear after the election saying: Yes to Likud, no to Netanyahu.
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Another castrated one is Yuval Steinitz, as proven by his silence – not in the diplomatic realm, but certainly in the realms of personal ethics and corruption. His time is also likely to come, if he shakes off his fear of the kingdom.
And Gilad Erdan? After all, he is one of Netanyahu’s potential heirs, but he was ground to dust as communications minister and as public security minister. The degree of his castration is clear to all. He is in charge of the Israel Police, but instead of defending its official and public status he prefers to stutter pitifully. The prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street demands full and absolute castration of him. Support for Netanyahu against the rule of law has become a mitzvah for him. His time is also likely to come, if he manages to extricate his head from the harness it’s stuck in.
Gideon Sa’ar is not castrated, he’s a man who fights for what he believes in. He did not accept Netanyahu’s contemptible attitude towards him, and he sees how there is no room for him in the present campaign only because Netanyahu is unwilling to promote any potential heir, since the slogan of the campaign is “Born to rule.”
Right-wing leaders Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett are not castrated. I don’t share their views on anything, but the ugly war that the Netanyahu family forced on them, the tines of evil that raked their flesh – require a response. Nobody expects them to support a left-wing government, but both of them are familiar with the man and his behavior. There was a reason why Rabbi Rafi Peretz demanded that they demonstrate loyalty to Netanyahu. There is no reason why after the election they shouldn’t say: Yes to the right, no to Netanyahu.
Likud members were asked to sign a declaration that they would not replace Netanyahu. Clearly the prime minister is afraid that if he can’t form an immunity government, the castrated ones will declare: Yes to the right, no to Netanyahu.