Opinion

For Bibi’s Crowd, Loyalty Beats Justice

While the left sanctifies universal values of justice and morality, the right places loyalty and comradeship at the pinnacle of its values, particularly to our mothers and fathers, and Netanyahu is the father of us all

Prime Minister Netanyahu at a Likud party rally
Meged Gozani

“I believe in justice, but I will defend my mother before justice,” said Albert Camus, the French writer and philosopher, thereby reaping heaps of abuse from the French left. Camus said this in the context of the Algerian uprising against their French colonizers, at a time when his mother was a colonist in Algeria.

Thus, in one simple sentence, Camus defined the difference between the left and the right. Whereas the left sanctifies universal values of justice and morality, only then taking into consideration values such as loyalty and friendship, the right places at the pinnacle of its values loyalty and comradeship. Only then comes morality and justice. Mother and father come first and Netanyahu is the father of us all.

These different values (and I’m not determining which is better) explain the great amazement of people on the left who cannot understand how Likud cabinet ministers and Knesset members defend Benjamin Netanyahu despite all the investigations and evidence stacked up against him, and how the heads of his coalition parties stand beside him instead of removing him from office.

It’s true that one can explain the support shown by Likud members for Netanyahu by their belief that only he can give them power, jobs and budgets, and that only he can salvage their dignity and shatter the old elites. But a deeper explanation lies in the realm of values: One doesn’t ditch a friend who’s in trouble, and certainly not one’s father.

This is what’s happening with Moshe Kahlon and Naftali Bennett. Both of them put aside any moral argument. For them, all the serious testimonies about the extravagant gifts, Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes and Bezeq telecommunications owner Shaul Elovitch are issues relating to values, which should be judged by voters on election day. As long as the attorney general has not decided to prosecute Netanyahu, his coalition partners will not topple him, and even then it’s not clear that they will. For them, values of loyalty and comradeship are paramount.

Look how different all this is from the corruption case of Ehud Olmert. Olmert also didn’t want to resign and said it could wait at least until the attorney general decides whether to indict. But Ehud Barak, the defense minister and Labor leader at the time, did not wait. Right after the police published their recommendation to prosecute Olmert, he announced that if Olmert did not resign, Labor would force new elections, thus leaving Olmert no alternative but to go home. Barak placed the values of justice and morality above those of loyalty and comradeship.

Thus, anyone waiting for salvation at the hands of Kahlon or Bennett (or possibly Lieberman, Litzman or Dery) is mistaken in their assessment of the human soul. In that case, maybe the knockout punch will come from the attorney general?

In a programmatic speech he gave recently, Avichai Mendelblit repeatedly emphasized how professional he was, operating only by the book. He explained that he and the state prosecutors would examine the investigation materials based on whether they offer a reasonable chance of conviction. “Only the evidence will speak, only the law will decide – external considerations will bear no influence. This is a professional process with no shortcuts,” he said.

I interpret the words “no shortcuts” to mean a meticulous process that will take a very long time. This is due to the values of loyalty and friendship Mendelblit bears towards Netanyahu, seen in the lack of any enthusiasm to topple him. The attorney general will stretch out his examination endlessly. The Bezeq file has not even passed the police investigation stage and the luxury gifts and Mozes cases require some further clarifications. Thus, the attorney general’s preliminary recommendations will be a long time in coming. Then the files will go to State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, subsequently returning to Mendelblit, who will examine them thoroughly over many months, covering every testimony and piece of evidence. That too is not the final step. Any ruling by the attorney general will be appealed in the High Court of Justice, a process that will take several more months.

Thus anyone expecting a quick resolution of this affair will be disappointed. Netanyahu will be with us for a long time. I won’t be surprised if he lasts until the next elections in November 2019, since mother always trumps justice.