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Don’t Accept Rivlin’s False Symmetry

Haaretz Editorial
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Reuven Rivlin and Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to a nomination ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, September 25, 2019.
Reuven Rivlin and Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to a nomination ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, September 25, 2019. Credit: Oliver Fitoussi
Haaretz Editorial

For almost a year, Israel has been in a state of political fog and a sense of governmental instability. However, despite the attempt to create symmetry in the endless blame game between the sides, this must be stated simply: The current crisis is a direct outcome of a multiyear right-wing regime of incitement and instigation, which is determined to destroy Israel’s democratic infrastructure and has delegitimized millions of citizens, whether minorities or political rivals.

So President Reuven Rivlin’s bid to forcibly mediate between the master inciter, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the opposition that arose as authentic resistance to the destruction he sowed, defeats the extremely important purpose the Israeli citizen now faces – to end the ongoing nightmare in which Israel is immersed. Rivlin may have taken a step back on Wednesday evening when he stopped his futile brokerage attempts and asked Netanyahu to form a government. But the damage has already been done. The course he outlined became the political bon ton and Yariv Levin, head of Likud’s negotiation team, said on Thursday that he plans “to conduct negotiations on the basis of the outline presented by the president.”

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 42

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Rivlin has sketched out a false symmetry in his efforts to prevent another election because “the nation doesn’t want it.” This is what makes Kahol Lavan’s refusal to serve with Netanyahu in the same government a tool in the hands of the prime minister’s proxies.

Suddenly, anyone who won’t cooperate with Netanyahu – a man charged with crimes (subject to a hearing) and who deliberately chose incitement as his hand to play in the political game – has no concern for national stability or for the welfare of the people.

The opposite is true. Benny Gantz must persist in his refusal to be a partner in a government in which Netanyahu has a major role, or to have any discourse with a monolithic “right bloc” that has proved in the past four years that it stands for nationalism, racism, extortion and incitement.

Netanyahu and his proxies’ absurd attempts at posturing concern to heal the wounds of the people are a cynical smoke screen, behind which lies the fear of another election. Gantz and the rest of the opposition members must not fall into this wretched trap. They must remember exactly why they received 57 Knesset seats: to end the insanity, deceit and confusion of the Netanyahu era.

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