Netanyahu Still Has Some Rabbits Up His Sleeve

In addition to the public coffers, the prime minister has a few plump rabbits up his sleeve that can transform him overnight into a beloved of the nation - the return of Gilad Shalit for example.

Above the tents on Rothschild Boulevard fly countless banners urging "Bibi go home" and displaying various other slogans of no confidence in the prime minister. Kiryat Shmona local papers reported over the weekend meanwhile that the city council had decided at this point in time to designate the prime minister an honorary resident of the city. The mayor, Rabbi Nissim Malka, said yesterday that the move was the initiative of his deputy, Likud member Yigal Buzaglo, and that if Netanyahu kept his promise to help the city, the council would favorably consider the proposal.

In a conversation with young people in the protest tents, Malka expressed hope that "everyone who needs to wake up will arrive in time and help us." This was probably a reference to politicians who collected some funding from donors and came up with a few million shekels only after the city's community center, library and cultural center closed their doors due to a budget shortage. They will grant political kindnesses to those who provide them with social justice - in other words, fill up their coffers.

Netanyahu with Barak - Emil Salman - 14082011
Emil Salman

In addition to the public coffers, the prime minister has a few plump rabbits up his sleeve that can transform him overnight into a beloved of the nation - the return of Gilad Shalit for example. In order to get the credit for Shalit's release, all Netanyahu would have to do would be to instruct David Medan, his representative in the talks (indirect, of course ) with Hamas that opened in Cairo, to waive the demand to expel "the hardcore prisoners."

Such a move would assure Netanyahu that the news vans on Rothschild Boulevard would close shop in a flash and station themselves near Mitzpeh Hila to document the prime minister handing over Gilad to his emotional parents.

And if salvation doesn't come from Hamas, Netanyahu can gamble on the Palestinian Authority. Security analysts assess that Abu Mazen will have a hard time controling the masses who will take to the streets - from all over the West Bank to Jerusalem - the day after the UN vote on September 20 to protest against the occupation of their "state."

The experience of the Bil'in protests teaches that a dozen smart officers are unable to deal with a single stone that one foolish boy throws at an Israeli soldier. Channel Two has already started preparing viewers for "the September riots." The experience of the second intifada shows that violence is a sure charm to ensure the longevity of a rightist government.

Kiryat Shmona's leaders, like their colleagues in the other peripheral cities, know how to read the political map of the big guys. They look around them and do not see anyone from the center that can ride the wave of protest all the way to Balfour Street and evict the new honorary resident of the city from the prime minister's residence.

Who among the partners on the right/extreme right has any desire to bring Netanyahu down? Ehud Barak of Atzmaut, who the polls push below the threshold? Eli Yishai of Shas, who fears the day when he will have to hand back the office, car and driver to Aryeh Deri? Or perhaps the indictment against Avigdor Lieberman will take Yisrael Beiteinu out of the government?

Given the pace of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's decision-making, the foreign minister will have enough time to ruin Israel's relations with half the world before then.

Last week marked two years since the police advised bringing charges against Lieberman, and four months have gone by since the announcement that Weinstein is considered indicting him for fraud and breach of trust, money laundering and badgering a witness. It was said at the time that prior to reaching a final decision, the minister would be summoned to a hearing before the attorney general. But how will the attorney general proceed if he is presented with operational assessments warning of political upheaval at the height of a clash in Judea and Samaria?

The answer to this can perhaps be found in the response the attorney general relayed to Haaretz via his spokesman regarding the ongoing violation (over three years ) of the order to carry out the evacuation and sealing of Beit Yehonatan, an illegally built enclave in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. "At the time the orders were issued," the response stated, "consideration was also given to operational assessments and other matters relevant to the enforcement authorities, and these considerations have been preventing the implementation of the orders until now."

Under this rule of "operational assessments and other matters relevant to the enforcement authorities," the honorary resident of Kiryat Shmona could also be spared problems with friends from the settlements when the time comes to uphold the court order to evacuate Migron and the other outposts that provide Jews with affordable housing on stolen land.

An honorary right-winger

Even for the tastes of the conservatives of Fox Television, program host Glenn Beck is too right wing, and they have ended his daily morning show. In so doing, they spared themselves the embarrassment of the comparison Beck made between members of the Norwegian ruling party's youth movement who were killed by an Islamaphobe and the Hitler Youth. Beck specializes in developing conspiracy theories involving socialists, Islamists and liberals and frequently quotes anti-Semitic opinion makers.

Now, he has arrived in Israel for a visit ahead of events he is planning for next week in Jerusalem - a response to the Palestinian declaration of independence. During his previous visit to Jerusalem, last month, Beck declared that Jordan was the Palestinian state. Among the people who will be graced by a meeting with Beck are Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Ministers Yuli Edelstein and Daniel Hershkowitz, and also MKs Danny Danon and Einat Wilf. This will be an excellent opportunity to display Israel's leaders' longing for peace.