The Problem Is Netanyahu, Not His Wife

The question, Mr. Prime Minister, is this: Either you’re too weak and incapable of handling your wife’s mood swings, or you’re partner to her acts and conduct.

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Air Force One-I? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara may soon have their own private plane
Air Force One-I? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara may soon have their own private plane Credit: GPO

Netanyahu’s elegant gesture – “Attack me, not my wife” – is reminiscent of the ugly woman who looks in the mirror and says to herself: “He deserves it.”

Netanyahu is indeed a gentleman, but the question, Mr. Prime Minister, is this: Either you’re too weak and incapable of handling your wife’s mood swings, or you’re partner to her acts and conduct. Or perhaps the two of you put up with each other’s faults. In other words, the two of you are preparing to continue hand in hand the good life you had during your term – an all-expenses-paid package.

You should take an example from the Ben-Gurions, Israel’s first prime minister and his wife, who conducted their life together in the style of “he does his thing and she does hers.” He ran the state and she ran the house, and especially her husband’s health. Paula appeared no less ridiculous than Sara, when the haute couture fashion designer of the era, Lola Beer (Ebner), designed weird dresses and hats for her to wear at state events. Paula didn’t interfere with running the state, but that didn’t stop her from grabbing the coat lapel of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, who was single, and telling him it was time he got married. Her reasoning was that if he was married, he would have less interest in interfering with us.

Her husband suffered from high blood pressure and she controlled his diet. Visitors to their home received herring leftovers – take it or it’s going into the trash. B-G didn’t have a villa in Caesarea waiting for him and his wife didn’t have to stock up on new furniture. They retired, as is commonly known, to a wooden hut in Sdeh Boker. Paula hated every minute of life in the hut, but she was always his wife, with no mannerisms, no lawyers and no scandals.

We won’t go into the minute details of Israel’s prime ministers and presidents’ lives. We’ll only mention that life was modest in the president’s residence in the days of Yitzhak Ben Zvi and his wife Rahel Yanait, whose official home was a simple shack. And that there was one president who found that his private apartment was being sold; he was only leasing it as a protected tenant.

The real turning point in the living standard of yet another president, whose name will not be mentioned, occurred when his young wife gained notoriety for buying an expensive fur hat during a visit in the United States. That couple became even more famous when it cleaned out the president’s residence, including beds and a private car for the wife, tax free. The couple that came next, Isaac Herzog’s father and mother, had to live for a while in their Herzliya home until the president’s residence was refurnished and new rules were set regarding the ownership of the goods in the house.

We may not have rulers like King Henry VIII, who used to solve problems by beheading his wives, but perhaps we should learn from the model set by the prime minister’s house in Downing Street, London, where the private bar is completely separate from the state one. As a prime minister’s wife once said to me, “You won’t believe it, here you can drink as much as you like.”

Sara is a former airline cabin attendant, whom Bibi fell in love with. She is obsessive about cleanliness and order, as she is about her rights in everything regarding what her partner is permitted to do. She demanded to see the prime minister’s appointments diary and even to be present at a private conversation between him and the Mossad chief. Perhaps the rumor that the prime minister once spent the night playing backgammon with his bodyguards because his wife refused to open the door to him isn’t trumped up.

The Netanyahu couple has learned to live together, with or without a legal contract, with bottles, with dirty laundry done in hotels abroad, with new private furniture previously owned by the state, and without it. His wife knows everything and is partner to everything. But finally, it’s not her, it’s him. He is the one dragging the country to hell in a handbasket.

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