Defectors From Netanyahu's Party Are Breaking the Silence

Haaretz Editorial
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, December 23, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, December 23, 2020. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Haaretz Editorial

“The personal considerations and caprices of those around you are playing a larger and larger role in decision making. ... Personal considerations are being mixed up with national considerations. ... We’re holding an election because of your desire to influence the choice of the state prosecutor and attorney general and [enact] the ‘French’ law,” which would grant sitting prime ministers immunity from prosecution (lawmaker Zeev Elkin, December 23).

“Loyalty to a path has been replaced by a cult of personality. ... The party has become a tool to serve the prime minister’s interests, including those related to his criminal trial. ... Likud has been taken over by an unacceptable culture of belittling and smearing political rivals” (lawmaker Gideon Sa’ar, December 8).

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“This is the bit I can do to end the embarrassing performance of a government that’s strife-ridden, going nowhere and holding an entire country hostage over political posts. ... I did everything a person who has sworn loyalty to the State of Israel ought to do” (lawmaker Michal Shir, December 22).

“The current government has been an utter failure at running the country and wasted the trust it was given. It has no mandate to continue governing. My conscience doesn’t allow me to continue supporting this government, or to be a member of Likud under its current leadership” (MK Sharren Haskel, December 23).

“I didn’t tell the public, ‘Go have a beer,’ I didn’t attend massive events without a mask, I didn’t invite people to my home in violation of the regulations. ... I’d like to remind the prime minister that he’s the one who crushed implementation of Prof. Gamzu’s traffic light plan,” which called for differential restrictions based on incidence of the coronavirus in each locality (lawmaker Yifat Shasha-Biton, September 21).

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his propaganda campaign extolling himself as the exterminator of the coronavirus (which he failed to manage), a historic statesman (who is leading us to a binational state) and someone concerned with the unity of the nation (who violated his coalition agreement to rotate the prime minister’s job), the number of people who are breaking the silence, fed up with Netanyahu and abandoning his Likud party is growing. Elkin outdid himself when on Wednesday he described exactly how one man is dragging an entire country into a fourth election just to save himself from his trial.

Netanyahu’s yes-men continue to defend their master devotedly because their fate is tied to his. But the cracks in the defensive wall around the prime minister are multiplying and widening. It must be hoped that those who have already broken the silence will be joined by others, who will show Israelis one simple fact – Netanyahu belongs in the dock, not in the prime minister’s residence.

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

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