Opinion |

Just Like Trump, Netanyahu Is a Danger to Israel

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a rally held by right-wing Israelis in Jerusalem, in April.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a rally held by right-wing Israelis in Jerusalem, in April.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/Reuters
Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

What a difference, what a yawning gap. Look at the noble way Naftali Bennett passed the reins of power to Yair Lapid, and then imagine what would have happened had Benjamin Netanyahu had to do the same. Instead of the rotation agreement being upheld to the letter, the mutually respectful tone and the praise Bennett gave Lapid, we would have seen hatred and false accusations from Bibi.

Actually, we wouldn’t have seen anything. He simply wouldn’t have honored the agreement and wouldn’t have handed over power to anyone else. After all, that’s exactly how he treated Benny Gantz when he violated their rotation agreement.

Netanyahu is also incapable of saying anything good about anyone else. Just ask the cabinet members from his Likud party, who have never gotten any public pats on the back from him – not even his loyal sidekick Yuval Steinitz, who suffered insults from him when he was finance minister and was robbed of all his achievements on the natural-gas front when he was energy minister.

And indeed, immediately after the handover ceremony Bibi outdid himself, as usual, with his expressions of incitement, division and lies. He thereby showed us the future that awaits us if he wins the election.

His goal will once again be to cancel his trial. And if achieving it requires assassinating the character of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara so he can replace her with someone who will end the trial, then so be it.

If he wins the election, Bibi will realize his plan to destroy Israeli democracy. This week his obedient servants MKs David Amsalem and May Golan submitted a bill to have Supreme Court justices appointed by the cabinet and Knesset instead of by the Judicial Appointments Committee. This would completely politicize the court, and thereby effectively destroy it. That way, only one branch of government would remain – Bibi, who would control both the cabinet and the Knesset.

On Wednesday, the governing coalition managed to win the vote on that bill, and thereby saved our democracy. For now.

And if all this seems a bit exaggerated to you, read the interim conclusions of the U.S. congressional committee that’s investigating the events of January 6, 2021. It says the rioters’ storming of the U.S. Capitol was a well-planned attack whipped up by then-President Donald Trump, who inflamed the mob so it would take control of the Congress and forcibly prevent the counting and confirmation of the election results, thereby enabling Trump to declare himself the winner.

The United States at that time was very close to losing its democracy. And it could happen here too if Netanyahu’s trial moves toward a conviction while Bibi is prime minister.

It’s impossible to sum up the week without mentioning two Arab Knesset members, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi of Meretz and Mazen Ghanayim of the United Arab List, who dismantled the government by voting against it on a few occasions. How will they explain to Arab citizens that funds which were earmarked for Arab communities will not arrive now, the plan to reduce crime in their towns will be halted and that Bedouin villages will not be connected to the electricity grid? How much hatred and stupidity is needed to topple a government that took unprecedented steps to benefit the Arab community and replace it with a government of delusional, Arab-hating settlers like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir?

But it’s fitting to end with the week’s big winner, Yair Lapid. A decade ago, he left the media and established the Yesh Atid party. He said at the time that he would win the 2013 election and become prime minister, which didn’t happen. But he was the big surprise of the election, winning 19 Knesset seats, and he became finance minister in Netanyahu’s government. Now he is foreign minister and alternative prime minister, and has thereby acquired considerable experience.

Over the course of the decade he learned and matured. Today, unlike in 2013, the possibility of his serving as prime minister sounds logical. He is the one who set up this revolutionary government of change, whose goal was first and foremost to serve the state. Clearly he is infinitely preferable to Bibi.

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