A Who’s Who of the Netanyahu Government's Collaborators

Yes, we know all the excuses. Without us it will be worse. We’ll influence from the inside. Still, there are some who do not run scared.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, with Eytan Sheshinski. Credit: GPO
Yossi Sarid

Every day one must ask oneself if he’s a collaborator with Benjamin Netanyahu and his policy’s iniquities, and shudder at the very question.

Professor Eytan Sheshinski is an example of collaboration. He’s the man whose signature appears on the energy reform, which increases the state’s part in the profits; who experienced the lobbyists and thugs’ slanders at first hand. And suddenly he changed his spots and put his weight behind the gas heist. Now he’s the best man in the marriage of capital and government, carrying Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s bridal train on the gold-paved path to his wedding with natural gas baron and all-around tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva.

Asked recently for the meaning of his turnabout, Sheshinski replied: “The spirit of the commander changed from what it was in 2011.” I naively believed that 80-year-old professors no longer have commanders, and that academic freedom is reserved for professors emeritus as well. Who is to tell them what to do? They’ve already made their reputation and that’s the only thing they can lose. I see you, Eytan, on the way from Ein Harod to the news conference in the Prime Minister’s Office. For me, you’re lost.

Sheshinski is not the only one. I see retired Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel on her way to the Justice Ministry as chairwoman of “the committee to fight cyber bullying.” What in hell can motivate a respectable retired judge to cooperate with a minister whose target is to destroy the Supreme Court? What could explain Arbel’s agreement to have a terrorist, Hagai Segal, in that panel, of all places.

Yes, we know all the excuses. Without us it will be worse. We’ll influence from the inside. One would think that committees around here change the ways of the world and that their reports aren’t eaten by moths a little later.

It’s always advisable to remember – bad things are usually done under the sponsorship of people with good intentions. Police Commander (ret.) Yoav Segalovich, in contrast, refused to degrade himself like Arbel. It’s either me, as a defender of the law, he said, or him, Hagai Segal, as a convicted criminal, but not both of us.

Haaretz’s Amir Oren tells us that those in charge of evaluating national security – the head of Military Intelligence Herzl Halevi and head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division Eli Ben-Meir “shush the voices in military intelligence about the agreement in Iran, voices that are critical to bring to the public’s attention.”

Those two themselves – the major general and his deputy – are keeping as silent as fish. Because that’s how the fisherman likes them. Or take for instance Karnit Flug, the Bank of Israel governor. Such hopes we had pinned on her. Suddenly she remembered the advantages of the state’s gas agreement with the companies. “A reasonable agreement,” she announced, pointing out “the conditions that have been created.” She left this a mystery. How exactly were those “conditions” “created?” By themselves? If not, who created them?

This column is not aimed at collaborators against their will – those attorneys in the state’s service and in the service of the Netanyahu family, the Foreign Ministry diplomats at their wits’ end under Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s thumb, the doctors in the Shin Bet and Prison Service who once dreamed of healing, the education clerks who were once educators, the palace scribes at Israel Hayom. These are Marranos, forced to convert on pain of death. At home, behind closed shutters, they still keep their faith and innocence.

They’re not the ones I’m complaining about. They have seen with their own eyes what was done to people whom the king does not hold dear – to David Gilo the antitrust commissioner, to Orit Farkash-Hacohen from the Electric Authority and to Bilha Blum from the Education Ministry’s Repertoire Committee. This column is directed at the collaborators by choice.Not everyone is running scared or is driven by fear of retribution. The Israel Medical Association and its president, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, spoke their minds and refused to bow to them and their henchman. And this week we’ve learned that Netanyahu is searching in vain, with the help of aromatic candles, for advisers. In a place where there is no proverbial person of honor, there are still people of honor.

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