It happened in 2002. A Likud activist phoned Sara Netanyahu to consult with her about a certain woman who worked in her husband’s office but then, to his surprise, the conversation took a morbid turn.
“Bibi is too big a leader for this country,” Sara said. “Why does he have to work so hard? Without him the state wouldn’t hold up, people here would be slaughtered. We’ll move abroad and the country will burn.”
It seems to me that Benjamin Netanyahu is now trying to carry out the task that Sara assigned him. His actions since the outbreak of the pandemic show that he doesn’t care if we all go up in smoke as a burnt offering. He doesn’t care about how many people are sick with the coronavirus, or about the dead and the unemployed.
After all, four months ago he could have appointed a coronavirus czar, increased the number of tests and transferred responsibility for breaking the chain of infection to the Home Front Command. For personal reasons, he didn’t do it, so we’re in the second wave now.
The long lockdown, which led to a severe economic crisis, hasn’t moved him either. His salary hasn’t been affected by a penny, like his exemption from the motor vehicle tax and even the maintenance costs for his private home in Caesarea.
Nor has he been moved by the dangerous budget deficit, which will lead us to a credit-rating downgrade and a financial disaster. He isn’t submitting a two-year budget for one reason only: so that he’ll have the option of disbanding the government and heading into an election.
So he has opted for a reckless election economy and is handing out money at a pace that even Yoram Aridor, the populist Likud finance minister from 1981 to 1983, never dreamed of. So take note: In 1984 we ended up with hyperinflation of 445 percent, mass bankruptcy and our last dollar.
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Finance Minister Yisrael Katz doesn’t understand this yet, but one day the emperor will blame him for the decline and fall, tie him to the stake and light it. This will also happen to coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu, sooner than he imagines. After all, Bibi’s the best in the world when it comes to tricks and shirking responsibility.
Look at how he keeps talking about another lockdown, in total contrast to the czar he himself anointed. Gamzu doesn’t want people to die of unemployment and depression, but Netanyahu has a completely different plan: to prevent the demonstrations near his official residence in Jerusalem with the help of a lockdown. He talks about “coronavirus incubators” at open-air protests but didn’t prevent an indoor wedding attended by thousands of Belz Hasidim.
The protesters on Balfour Street didn’t plan this but they invented an innovative startup: a blockade of the prime minister’s residence. This is a thousand times more effective than the demonstrations on Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. After all, three members of the nuclear family, Bibi, Sara and their elder son Yair, aren’t serene people. Racked with paranoia, they’re sure the protesters haven’t come to demonstrate but to storm their home and do them bodily harm.
This of course is baseless but, hey, paranoia talks. That is, the weight of each demonstrator on Balfour Street is around 10 times that of one on Rabin Square. So there weren’t 20,000 people on Balfour last Saturday night but 200,000.
If Netanyahu returned to the solid ground of reality, he’d realize that the only thing keeping him in power is the unity government with Benny Gantz. The moment he violates the coalition terms and heads into a fourth election in a year and a half, his rivals in his Likud party will free themselves from the spell and rebel against him. Heading the rebellion will be Katz and Gideon Sa’ar. They’ll topple him from the top of the party. Likudniks don’t like people who can’t assure them a government.
The moment this happens, Netanayahu will arrive in court for his corruption trial in January a hated ordinary citizen, someone who for personal reasons got us into a deep economic crisis and terrible unemployment. So he needs to embrace Gantz in the warmest way possible and beg him: Come on Benny, I apologize. Let’s turn over a new leaf, let’s walk together like brothers. You’re my last hope.