One person alone is responsible for turning Sara Netanyahu into a lightning rod for blame and a useful object for incitement — Benjamin Netanyahu.
He is the person who initiated, approved and took a billion for the purchase of a palace and a private airplane, at a time when, due to his policies, Israelis cannot buy a home. Who for years, before he even met Sara, reportedly refused to pay at restaurants and was known for repeatedly claiming to have forgotten his wallet. Who upended Israel’s tax pyramid, transforming a relatively egalitarian state into a world leader in poverty and inequality.
The man of the “Bibi-Tours” affair, the luxury hotels, the cigars, the ice cream, the water for the private pool; the man into whose account allegedly flowed tens of thousands of shekels from the deposits on beverage bottles purchased with government funds.
The man who allowed the humiliation of state employees hired to serve him, as well as their alleged exploitation for the purpose of stealing public property. Who was rescued by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the family lawyer, from an official recommendation of prosecution for breach of trust and for taking hundreds of thousands of shekels in public assets in the Avner Amedi and the gifts affairs, involving allegations, respectively, that the Netanyahus tried to get the state to reimburse them for private moving expenses and took possession, for their personal use, of gifts from world leaders. Who, after a thwarted attempt in the “Bar-On Hebron” affair, succeeded to seize control of fundamental public judicial assets — the office of the state attorney general and of the state comptroller, appointing the latter in his own living room. Netanyahu gained control of the Israel Police with the aid of Avigdor Lieberman, who was convicted of assaulting a child. Thus he methodically destroyed the rule of law in Israel, a “law” that is visible when used against his political rivals but silent when it is supposed to be applied to the ruler. Almost like Vladimir Putin and his mouthpiece, Russia Today.
Netanyahu, who took control of nearly all Israeli media outlets and put them in thrall to the propaganda rag Israel Hayom, the beneficiary of hundreds of millions in gambling profits that make a mockery of the party funding law, as the attorney general and the state comptroller collaborate with their master through silence. The propaganda rag is distributed free, in an effort to bring down every remaining independent newspaper, while claiming to be their victim.
Netanyahu, who turned Yitzhak Rabin, an Israeli hero, into a “traitor,” the subject of the chant, “With blood and fire we shall drive out Rabin.” Netanyahu, who exploited his extramarital affair to win a Likud primary by fabricating an extortion attempt by “someone very high up in Likud who is surrounded by criminals.”
He is the fabricator, the leaker, the creator and the orchestrator of the “crazy Sara” method of accusation.
He employs this method in a bid to escape his alleged theft of public funds, greed, stinginess, extreme exploitation of employees and ordinary citizens, to escape his methodical public violence and incitement as well as the poverty and socioeconomic gaps created by his cannibalistic capitalism.
He, the inciter, cast himself as both the “victim” and the noble “protector” of the “crazy woman,” a role with which many Israeli men can ostensibly identify.
It bears remembering that a reviled No. 2 is often an effective instrument of control. Instead of blaming the chief, people blame the one who annoys him. Shimon Peres helped Rabin by playing his unpopular second fiddle. Racist David Levy jokes helped Menachem Begin to posit his government as the restorer of the lost honor of the Mizrahim. So too, for a while, did the misogynist accusations leveled at Marie Antoinette — who never said “Let them eat cake” — help to conceal the greed of the male royals.
But eventually the utility ends. Then comes the revolution or, in the language of democracy, an electoral upset. A Herzog-Kahlon-Livni-Gal-On coalition could be a fitting result.
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