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On Their Knees to Netanyahu

Haaretz Editorial
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Labor party leader Amir Peretz (L) passes the gavel to Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz, Jerusalem, March 26, 2020.
Labor party leader Amir Peretz (L) passes the gavel to Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz, Jerusalem, March 26, 2020.Credit: Adina Wallman / Knesset Spokesperson Unit
Haaretz Editorial

The third round of elections is starting to look like the greatest fraud perpetrated on the public in the history of the state. The latest pair – at least as of this writing – to join the shameful march into the warm bosom of the criminally indicted Benjamin Netanyahu are the chairman of the Labor Party himself, Amir Peretz, and the second MK on his slate, Itzik Shmuli.

It’s hard to describe the shock and disappointment that the heads of the “Just not Bibi” camp, those who were elected based on one promise – to put an end to Netanyahu’s corrupt and corrupting government – have deserted their voters, their promises and their values and hooked up with the king of corruption.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 72

The coronavirus and the state of emergency cannot explain the deception of masses of voters. Until Monday, the anti-Netanyahu camp was mourning its abandonment by the man who stood at its head, Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz, who thus dismantled the only possible governing alternative. Then Labor voters, who were still trying to recover from the bolting of Gesher chairwoman Orli Levi-Abekasis, had to digest the total turnabout performed by the leader of the left, and absorb the news that Amir Peretz, who shaved off his mustache on live TV as an oath that he wouldn’t join up with Netanyahu, plans to attach himself to this individual.

Peretz and Shmuli agreed with Gantz that the former would be appointed economic affairs minister and the latter social affairs minister under the quota of portfolios Netanyahu allocated to Gantz’s party. But how can one be consoled with the seizing of these important centers of power by members of the anti-Netanyahu movement, when this was accomplished by the abandonment of that movement?

Labor MK Merav Michaeli, who will apparently remain in the party but plans to vote against the government, described the error being made by Peretz and Shmuli well. “If I thought that entering the government meant our hands would be on the wheel, then maybe,” she wrote. “But we’ve learned that being a partner in an extreme right-wing government led by Netanyahu means sitting in the very back of the bus.”

Indeed, it’s hard to understand how an experienced politician like Peretz is falling into the hole that so many have fallen into before him.

Adding to Peretz and Shmuli’s farce, nearly a million people have been forced into unemployment because of the coronavirus – yet the “socially oriented” MKs aren’t ashamed to be part of the most corpulent government one can imagine, to number between 32 and 34 ministers.

Experience teaches that it’s only a matter of time before Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Peretz, Shmuli and their colleagues learn who Netanyahu is and what toxic stuff he’s made of. Then, when they return to the movement and seek its confidence, they will find no one left who will believe them or be prepared to follow them.

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



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