Kahol Lavan in La-La Land

Haaretz Editorial
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Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz (R) and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Sderot, February 24, 2020
Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz (R) and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Sderot, February 24, 2020Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Haaretz Editorial

The Yesh Atid-Telem faction, under the leadership of Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, will bring a draft bill to the Knesset plenum Wednesday designed to prevent someone accused of a criminal offense from forming a government. Their former partners from Kahol Lavan, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, said yesterday that their faction will not participate in the vote.

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The decision by the members of Kahol Lavan to absent themselves from the vote is another gentlemanly gesture towards their partner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for the sake of national reconciliation and the battle against the coronavirus, which goes well with the spirit of the La-La Land in which they are living. The only problem is that any connection between the scenario and reality is definitely a coincidence. That’s because their “partner” is a liar, a serial breaker of promises and contracts, a person without honor, who can’t be taken at his word and whose signature is not worth the paper on which it is written.

Of course, Gantz and Ashkenazi and their friends are well aware of that. The public also knows that they, and the other members of their faction, identify with every word explaining the law, to the effect that “The tenure of a prime minister who is under indictment for serious crimes, first and foremost crimes of corruption and integrity, is in total contradiction to the ethical norms required of an elected official.”

The public knows that, because for an entire year, and in the course of three election campaigns, Gantz and Ashkenazi raised the flag of the war against corruption, and explained from every possible platform that a person accused of criminal behavior is not worthy of serving as a prime minister. Even in its announcement Tuesday, Kahol Lavan emphasized that its basic position on the issue has not changed and won’t change.

And although everyone knows everything, Gantz and Ashkenazi are continuing with their conciliatory policy. It makes no difference how much they are humiliated, they restrain themselves and don’t hit back. Netanyahu is mocking them with his baseless insistence on a one-year budget – any child understands that he is using the budget in order to retreat from the rotation agreement – and they express opposition, but in the end are willing to compromise.

When Gantz shouted in the coronavirus cabinet this week that “from the first day you’re simply not keeping the agreements. We signed an agreement for a two-year budget. How are you signing agreements and then working on a one-year budget?”

Netanyahu, like the class bully from elementary school, replied: “Someone please turn up the volume, we can’t hear you.” What else has to happen to make Gantz and Ashkenazi realize that they were deceived?

If the bill doesn’t pass the preliminary vote Wednesday, it can’t be introduced again for half a year. In other words, in addition to all the other humiliations, Kahol Lavan will lose the only card it has to play against Netanyahu. Although the chances look slim, let’s hope that members of the party come to their senses and vote in favor of the bill.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.