Stop the Insanity, Netanyahu Needs to Go

Haaretz Editorial
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Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a political statement at the Knesset, on Sunday.
Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a political statement at the Knesset, on Sunday.Credit: YONATAN SINDEL / POOL / AFP
Haaretz Editorial

Let us hope that Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett succeeds in establishing a government with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and puts an end to the 12 years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule. In his address Sunday night, in response to Bennett’s announcement that he plans to “stop the insanity,” Netanyahu offered another reminder of this “insanity” and why stopping it is so urgent.

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As usual during his destructive years in power, Netanyahu again used “left” as a synonym for a “danger to Israeli security and the future of the state,” again offended Arab citizens (“a government that relies on anti-Zionist votes”), and again distorted such concepts as “a government of healing” (“Two million voters are a sickness? What hatred, what arrogance”).

If the Bennett-Lapid government is indeed formed, it will not be a right-wing or left-wing government, but a government responsible for the ongoing management of state business for the benefit of the public. This is in contrast to the group of people appointed by a criminal defendant with no concern of how unsuited they were to their task, so long as they obeyed his authority and demonstrated unswerving loyalty.

The apparent makeup of this “change government” is the best possible evidence of Israel’s critical condition under Netanyahu. Only a man who has disgusted people so deeply could have brought together people from all parts of the political spectrum, who in normal times would have a hard time finding anything in common. Only someone whose reliability had been totally eroded could have led his rivals to set aside their differences and overcome serious political, economic, diplomatic, social and political disputes to work together.

Only a common understanding that Netanyahu is destroying the foundations of our collective life managed to link a centrist like Lapid with a former chairman of the Council of Jewish Settlements of Judea and Samaria (Bennett); a Jabotinsky right-winger like Gideon Sa’ar with the woman continuing the path of the Labor movement (Merav Michaeli) and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz; and a former chief of the IDF General Staff (Benny Gantz) with the chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, and the chairman of the United Arab List, Mansour Abbas.

Moreover, the fact that the person with the mandate to form the government, who heads a party with 17 seats, is prepared to let someone who heads a party with seven seats be prime minister for two years testifies to the intense desire to bring about a paradigm shift. The complex process of putting together a coalition has been governed by one single assumption: There is a desperate need to replace a dangerous leader who is doing great damage to the country.

It’s true that even if a new government is born, it isn’t clear what its life expectancy will be. It’s possible that without the “glue” (i.e., Netanyahu) uniting its parts, it will have difficulty surviving. But the order of the hour is to replace Netanyahu. Let us hope that the men of the hour, Lapid and Bennett, will do it.

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

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