Benjamin Netanyahu is laboring under a grand delusion. Having failed to form yet another right-wing government, he cannot come to grips with the “sacrilegious” notion that a rival, namely Naftali Bennett of the far right-wing Yamina Party, may soon replace him.
Netanyahu is so delusional and so self-centred that he cannot imagine Bennett, or anyone else, competently managing Israel’s affairs in his absence. Netanyahu’s sense of entitlement and arrogance are astounding.
A sore loser, he actually believes he is indispensable.
Worse still, Netanyahu — Israel’s longest-serving prime minister — is trying to fabricate a myth, grounded in a classic conspiracy theory, that the incoming government is aligned with the “deep state,” and that it owes its existence to “the greatest election fraud in the history of the country and, in my opinion, the history of democracies.”
Like his defeated and disgraced ally in the United States, Donald Trump, Netanyahu is brazenly suggesting that the coalition due to supplant him within days will be illegitimate, notwithstanding its democratic path to the cusp of power.
Following Netanyahu’s abysmal failure to assemble a government, Bennett and his colleague, Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid Party, cobbled together a viable coalition, with a slender majority of 61 seats in the Knesset, backed by Mansour Abbas of the Ra’am Party and five other political parties on the right, center and left.
Simply unwilling to accept this reality, Netanyahu has been seeking to break up the Bennett-Lapid “change” coalition by trying to coopt several of its supporters in the Yamina Party — Idit Silman, Nir Orbach and Ayelet Shaked. They have been given extra police protection after coming under intense pressure from Netanyahu loyalists to switch sides, but they are expected to remain loyal to Bennett.
Netanyahu has condemned incitement and violence, both of which, he said, will “always be out of bounds.” He issued this statement after the director of the Shin Bet internal intelligence agency, Nadav Argaman, warned that rising incitement and hate speech on social media could lead to political violence.
Let’s be clear. Netanyahu’s condemnation is disingenuous and cannot be taken seriously, not even for a moment. Netanyahu has whipped up his backers into a frenzy, filling their heads with a litany of lies and fantasies.
Claiming that Bennett is “a habitual liar” who intends to establish “a dangerous left-wing government” that is “more dangerous” than the 1993 Oslo accord and Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Netanyahu contends that Bennett and his partners will undermine Israel’s security and be incapable of responding to aggression from Iran and Hamas.
And most astonishingly, in a veiled reference to Abbas, Netanyahu contends that Bennett’s government will be “dependent on terror supporters.” What hypocrisy! As is well known, Netanyahu himself tried to recruit Abbas when he was attempting to establish a government.
To no one’s surprise, Netanyahu’s eldest son, Yair, a rabble-rouser of the first order, has been one of the inciters. In Facebook and Twitter posts, he divulged the address of a Yamina parliamentarian, obviously hoping that pro-Netanyahu protesters would converge on his house to demand his repudiation of the Bennett-Lapid coalition. As a result of his irresponsible maneuver, he was temporarily banned from Facebook and Twitter.
In responding to Netanyahu’s calumnies, Bennett was absolutely right to point out that Netanyahu, who is currently on trial on corruption charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust, is putting his personal interests above the interests of Israel.
This is hardly surprising. Political survival at all costs is Netanyahu’s modus operandi.
In an appeal to Netanyahu yesterday, Bennett said, “Let go. Let the country move forward. People are allowed to vote for a government, even if you do not lead it. Don’t leave scorched earth in your wake.”
And in a plea to Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu appointee, Bennett urged him not to delay a vote of confidence in the new government. “Yariv, you swore allegiance to the state, and not to a particular person,” he said in a tacit reference to Netanyahu.
On June 8, Levin announced that this vote will, in fact, take place on June 13. In the meantime, Netanyahu and company are fighting an uphill battle to sabotage Bennett’s coalition.
Bennet, though, is expected to be sworn in this coming Sunday, leaving Netanyahu in the dust and, perhaps, in the dustbin of history.