Opinion |

Give Netanyahu One-third of the Knesset: The Ship of Fools Needs a Captain

What a beautiful dream, and not even an exaggerated one, however there is no such thing as 'just Netanyahu,' because even if he were to get a sweeping majority in the next elections, he comes as a package deal

A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el
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File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at an event by his Likud party in Tel Aviv.
File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at an event by his Likud party in Tel Aviv.Credit: \ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS
A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el

Give Bibi Netanyahu 40 Knesset seats, give him even 61, which would allow him to form a government without coalition partners, and without arm-twisting. We won’t demand that he deliver lasting peace and recognition of a Palestinian state. Won’t demand an evacuation of the settlements or even that he refrain from going to war.

As long as he spares us from the gangs of plunderers, killers of democracy, enemies of the Supreme Court and those forcing religion on the public and who are destroying the education system. Let him require loyalty to Zionism as defined in the Declaration of Independence. Let him establish a government without Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked of Habayit Hayehudi, without United Torah Judaism’s Yaakov Litzman and the Council of Torah Sages and even God.

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Let him restore to us the country that we knew, that advanced knowledge and science, that didn’t lambast scientists for daring to express their opinions years ago. Let the culture minister be a person of culture, who doesn’t wear muddy boots to cultural events and has a vocabulary of more than a dozen words.

Let the prime minister ensure that, with the groundswell of electoral support that we give him, thugs like Oren Hazan and Miki Zohar don’t become Knesset members again and that he screens out the David Bitans and David Amsalems.

We’re entitled to have our country headed by a leader rather than a band of predators who rip away at the flesh of Israeli identity, who view the public either as the enemy or as easy prey, who distort the soul of an entire generation of students, silence critics and sanctify corruption. Yes, we deserve the chance to see – and for Netanyahu to show – how he runs a country without excuses. Just Netanyahu.

What a beautiful dream, and not even an exaggerated one, however there is no such thing as “just Netanyahu,” because even if he were to get a sweeping majority in the next elections, he comes as a package deal. We also get his wife, Sara, as the country’s CEO and their son Yair as digital propaganda minister. We wouldn’t be getting a leader but an ostentatious, greedy family.

So be it. After all, we’re used to it. Let them hire domestic help and drivers. Let them eat their fill at fancy restaurants and fly abroad in luxury. What’s important is that they leave stores open on Shabbat and don’t measure the length of female students’ shorts in school.

The family also comes with thick files concerning criminal suspicions, of bribery here, illegal favors there, along with cigars and free trips. Should we relent? Should we suggest that the attorney general drop the whole thing because we have no one else? Let’s go for it!

We’ll swallow hard, use an air-sickness bag, as long as he lets us keep the High Court of Justice and builds us inexpensive housing. We’ll make do with the fact that a Netanyahu who has a majority in the Knesset won’t need to set himself against Arabs and leftists, because we have already agreed not to demand that he carry out a withdrawal from the territories or peace or the end of the occupation or a settlement construction freeze. We would just ask for simple things that are easy to deliver.

But it won’t stop there, because getting a large majority in parliament requires paying friends to help achieve it. Somebody will need to be justice minister and education minister and interior minister and agricultural minister.

He will also need a new culture minister. That was one of our conditions for giving Netanyahu his majority. And there would probably also be new government ministries, because the friends worked for his election and they are demanding compensation. Granted that we said no Bitans or Amsalems, but who’s left?

Likudniks Nava Boker, Yaron Mazuz, Tzipi Hotovely and the heads of the Likud local branches? No problem. We’ll accept it, give in and pay the price. What’s important is that we still have Netanyahu, who can govern without pressure.

After all, are we better than America? Than the Philippines? Or Russia, or Turkey? All of them are magnificent democracies. At least our prime minister doesn’t assassinate journalists. He’s not convinced that attractive women should be raped. He doesn’t fire tens of thousands of bureaucrats and arrest soldiers. That’s saying something, particularly after people in the country have undergone a cultural revolution in recent years which has taught them that life is beautiful.

We need to give him those 40 or 50 or 60 Knesset seats. Not for his sake, but for our own. Because the ship of fools needs a captain, without whom we will collide with reality.

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