The World Is Ignoring Netanyahu

To ensure that the national, religious or private demon of a single person or couple will not send Israel to oblivion, a completely different leadership is necessary here.

Amir Oren
Amir Oren
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President's Residence, March 25, 2015.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President's Residence, March 25, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman
Amir Oren
Amir Oren

Less than two weeks have passed since the election, yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on spitting in the faces of those naive people who voted for him because they believe what he says.

Meni Naftali, the former chief caretaker of the prime minister's residence, in the Jerusalem Labor Court, March 25, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

With their votes in his pocket, he can mumble apologies and clarifications, transfer (in buses?) tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority and woo those who enjoyed the support of those infernal left-wing NGOs. As if the pollsters were ultimately right, even after the cheats’ votes were counted, and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog had won.

The world is ignoring Netanyahu. The future of the nuclear agreement with Iran does not depend on him. Still, rest assured that he will rush to announce that, without his heroism, it would have been worse.

He is bringing about the age of “the setting sun”; the end of nuclear exclusivity in the region. The Palestinians, with American and European assistance, are turning our refusal – the one Netanyahu so desperately needs to be saved from with Herzog’s help – into the basis of their diplomatic achievements.

President Barack Obama, who, according to the Walla! website, refuses to stay in Sheldon Adelson’s hotels on his travels, treats Netanyahu the same way a Newark immigration official handles an Israeli traveler he suspects of coming over to work illegally.

The pushing of Netanyahu to the splint of permanent constraints reminds us again just how lightweight declarations are when faced by facts. Some silent memorials to this: the uncompromising Golda Meir prior to the 1973 Yom Kippur War; Menachem Begin before Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem and before he got embroiled in the first Lebanon war; Yitzhak Shamir until he was dragged to the Madrid Conference; Ariel Sharon, who descended from the Temple Mount to a forced agreement to a Palestinian state – the same Sharon who won an election when he objected to evacuating the Netzarim settlement in the Gaza Strip and forgot to note the little word “only.”

A living witness: Netanyahu, who won the elections in 1996 and 2009 when he signaled right then immediately steered leftward, to evacuating Hebron and freezing settlement construction – not much, not enough, but certainly not what his voters expected.

The crux of the matter is not the leader’s political platform, but his character and personality. If he is arrogant, yet squashable, the damage is particularly harsh.

The testimonies heard last week in the case against Netanyahu and others by Meni Naftali, the ex-chief caretaker of the prime minister’s residence, were illuminating. The residence, which should be a prime example of labor relations in a country that brags about closing income gaps, was a sign of polarization and alienation between masters and servants. The latter – to whom most of Netanyahu’s voting pool belongs, until they get to know him – are held in the rickety, dependent status of contract workers. If they dare complain about the harm to their rights, they will be crushed by the steamroller that carries out his words, like an attorney defending a rape suspect by trying to prove that the victim is a wanton seductress while their client is a virtuous hermit.

When Squadron Leader Robert Lee Scott, Jr. described his World War II battle antics in his book “God is my Copilot,” nobody imagined that a copilot could take out his captain and 144 passengers and be revealed as the Devil.

A government, in essence, is no different from a machine flown by a person who is liable to go crazy. Tight supervision by a responsible team is required, of the type that prevented Netanyahu from taking off for Tehran. It would be a delusion to suffice, like in U.S. nuclear submarines, with two keys, because the deputy is liable to be too weak – or the source of evil itself.

To ensure that the national, religious or private demon of a single person or couple will not send the country to oblivion, a completely different leadership is necessary.

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