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Netanyahu, Alone, Is the Source of Evil

Uzi Baram
Uzi Baram
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Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu at Israel's parliament, Jerusalem, last month.
Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu at Israel's parliament, Jerusalem, last month.Credit: ABIR SULTAN /AP
Uzi Baram
Uzi Baram

Some say Benjamin Netanyahu is the last hope for the sanity of Israel, because he is an American democrat who tends to make a gesture to liberalism one time and then to conservatism the next. They also say that he isn’t a backward religious person like his colleagues in Likud, and everyone knows he eats unclean nonkosher food and drinks liquor that does not have the strictest kosher certification – while Itamar Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich, Miri Regev, Avi Maoz and Yariv Levin are seen as the true “angels of destruction.”

But in reality, even though all of them are truly horrible, they are still preferable to Netanyahu according to every objective measure of the magnitude of the sins: Israel is becoming more and more a Third World country not because Ben-Gvir emerged from the ruins and forced his views on Israel. Neither Smotrich or Ben-Gvir stood across from the courthouse, taunted the rule of law and made false accusations about the motives of the prosecution. Netanyahu did this, surrounded by his coterie of submissive eunuchs.

These “angels of destruction” are not the ones who conducted the campaign to eliminate the Knesset’s sovereign role. They did not challenge every law with broad support, they are not the ones who built a network of tweets and lies that has grown into a terrifying poison machine, one that is flooding all of Israel with deceit. It is not Smotrich and not Maoz who have succeeded in turning every one of Netanyahu’s opponents into a “leftist” – even Gideon Sa’ar and Avigdor Lieberman, unmistakable right-wingers.

Opinion polls say the Israeli legal system has lost the public’s trust in recent years. It is not Smotrich and not Ben-Gvir who have damaged its prestige, and not even Moti Yogev, who threatened the High Court of Justice with a D-9 bulldozer. Netanyahu is the one who damaged it, in his attempts to put an end to his trial and indictments, and he is the one who went to war against the prosecutors and judges. It is not Ben-Gvir who dispatched the harassers of prosecutor Liat Ben Ari, he is not the one who sent the harsh threats to former Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit – an appointment made by Netanyahu himself! The source of all of these is in Netanyahu’s sophisticated, effective system of lies and poison.

It is not Smotrich and not Ben-Gvir who spread the fake stories about Benny Gantz and tried to undermine Yair Lapid’s legitimacy – all of these are the fruit of the actions of “the only hope” that remains for the liberal camp in the face of the government that will likely arise. Moreover, it is not Ben-Gvir, not Smotrich and not Maoz who founded a semi-fascist party and made sure of its unification and success – Netanyahu is the one who did it, and he did not properly assess the power of the poison he spread. Netanyahu is the one who built Ben-Gvir and made him into a legitimate candidate for any senior position in the country.

The anger directed at Lapid, for having tried to “incite rebellion” among mayors against Maoz and his future office, testifies more than anything to the level of the hypocrisy here. After a parliamentary campaign against the “change government” – including the recruitment of deserters, which disrupted the democratic operation of the Knesset – they are making wild charges against Lapid for seeking to take the obvious, mild step of preventing something that’s truly horrible: appointing Maoz to be in charge of public programs in education.

It’s very likely that Netanyahu will try to prevent Ben-Gvir and Smotrich from making good on their threats. But that won’t clear him either, because Netanyahu is the creator of the evil among us, even without partners.

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