Opinion |

Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Said He'll Never Do It, and That's When I Knew He Would Go With Islamist Party

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
Illustration showing Benjamin Netanyahu (center), Mansour Abbas (right) and Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Illustration showing Benjamin Netanyahu (center), Mansour Abbas (right) and Itamar Ben-Gvir.Credit: Amos Biderman
Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

How did I know that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would turn to United Arab List lawmaker Mansour Abbas to ask for his support? By way of an interview Netanyahu gave a few days before the election.

It ain't over yet for Bibi, and we may meet here again. LISTEN to Election Overdose podcast

He was asked whether he would establish a government with the support of the United Arab List, possibly with the party backing him from outside the government, and he answered: “I unequivocally pledge not to do such a thing. I will not rely on them, I will not include them, not by abstaining or anything else, because they are an anti-Zionist party.” And when the interviewer pressed him, Bibi answered: “Abbas voted against the peace agreements that I brought with Arab countries, see how far his hatred leads. I won’t make an offer to him, I won’t rely [on him] or anything.”

In other words: “I intend to reach an agreement with him as quickly as possible. After all, I always do the opposite of what I say. That is my specialty: lying, leading astray, promising and not delivering. Not for nothing am I considered an arch-con man.”

And so, as long as Bibi is in the political playing field, we’ll have neither truth nor normalcy, quiet or stability. Neither government nor budget. Everything will be handled chaotically, without values and without boundaries, with everyone enslaved to the goal of cancelling his trial. After all, it’s clear that if Bibi had not been head of Likud, a coalition could have been established a long time ago. He is the reason for this unending series of elections.

Bibi is also the one who led us to this deep economic crisis, insane deficit and terrible unemployment, when for an entire year he conducted an unbridled and unprecedented campaign of election economics. There was a time when election bribery was about small things, like lifting taxes on TV sets. This time, it’s about the greatest election bribery in history. He managed the economy without a budget, without restrictions on outlays and without a single reform. He handed out grants of every kind indiscriminately, as well as unlimited unpaid furloughs. And thus he led us to a huge deficit of 160 billion shekels ($48 billion), the largest of any Western country besides the United States. He made the “fat man” (the public sector) fatter and the “thin man” (the private sector) mortally ill.

There was a time when Bibi was different. In December 2014, after he fired Finance Minister Yair Lapid, he took on the role of finance minister himself for three months. Until the election. At that time, then-MK Shelly Yacimovich said that a low deficit caused high unemployment and so the deficit should not be lowered. The people in the ministry’s budget division hastened to present a graph to Bibi showing that in all Western countries the larger the deficit, the greater the unemployment. Greece was number one at the time. Bibi waxed enthusiastic: “I’ll show everyone this graph, which proves who’s more social-minded, me or her. A low deficit is the correct social policy; it prevents unemployment that always hurts the weak.” Today there’s no trace of that old Bibi. Today he has no problem establishing a government with 34 ministers, with fictitious ministries. He also has no problem promising on the eve of the election another $15 billion in grants and tax reductions, as he tries to persuade us that there are free lunches. That is, his destruction of the public system has not been limited to the areas of justice and democracy, but also the economy. And so he has to go.

And because I suppose Bibi will very soon begin talks with Abbas, I have a proposal to the opposing group, the representatives of a government of change: Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Merav Michaeli Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, Gideon Sa’ar and Nitzan Horowitz. There is a clear line connecting you: a strong desire to send Bibi home, for the good of the country as well as for the insults and indignities you suffered at his hands. And so, don’t hesitate. Go to Abbas yourselves, and make him an offer he can accept. True, this is not simple, but the goal of replacing Netanyahu is greater than any other goal. And why should Bibi do this before you do?



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