Maa Zhi Hong
A 22 year old voice from Singapore

Benjamin Netanyahu must go

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on May 12, 2019. (Photo by GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on May 12, 2019. (Photo by GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP)

Israelis will have to decide the type of country they aspire for. They have to set the expectations and the standards they demand from their elected representatives and government. To that end, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must go before it is too late. He has become a liability to Israel and Israelis has spoken loud and clear in the last two elections. The Prime Minister Likud party has failed to win the most number of seats in this round of election.

The Likud party won 31 seats compared to the 32 seats won by Blue & White, the centrist coalition led by former Chief of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) General Benny Gantz.

Both sides fell short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in the Knesset.

Mr Netanyahu and his allies have 55 seats in total. Benny Gantz and his allies have 56 seats.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party won nine seats and holds the balance of power between the two blocs.

Even though the President of Israel has given Benjamin Netanyahu the first go-to form the government. Lieberman has refused to ally with Netanyahu and denied him a chance to form the government. Lieberman has put the interest of the country first and he must persist.

The incumbent Prime Minister must not be allowed to succeed in forming the next government. To allow the current government to continue staying in office will be a huge stain on the history of the country. It will be a betrayal of the people of Israel who have rejected the current government.

He has lost the confidence of many Israelis and it is time for the people’s mandate to prevail.

For that to happen, Avigdor Lieberman must take a step further by allying with Benny Gantz.

A new government headed by Benny Gantz is the right thing to do for Israel.

This is necessary to prevent Netanyahu from forcing a third election again. After two elections, Israelis deserve better.

Supporting Benny Gantz will give him the confidence of majority of Knesset members. This will allow the President to invite him to form the government.

So why there is a need to change Prime Minister?

First, Benjamin Netanyahu has lost the moral authority to lead, as he and his family have been under the spotlight in recent years for multiple allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

His wife recently pleaded guilty to misusing US$100,000 in government funds and received only a fine of $15,000 under a plea deal.

There has always been corruption in Israel but Israeli institutions have always been able to bring the culprits of all levels to justice which include former heads of state and government.

For example, Moshe Katsav, the eighth Israeli president, was convicted of raping a female employee while he was still in office. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was sent to jail for bribery and breach of trust. These cases show that in Israel, the system is working and anyone who has erred will be brought to justice and be held accountable.

This case is no different, and now the prime minister is facing an array of indictments from fraud to abuse of power for personal gain. It is important to take note that the current Attorney General is appointed by the current Prime Minister and, the fact that indictment has been recommended against the Prime Minister shows that the system is working effectively in trying to hold the PM accountable.

In the Israeli judicial system, there is a strict prescribed due process to follow before recommendations of indictments can be made. The Attorney General made his decision to indict the PM only after receiving recommendations from the Attorneys working on behalf of the State Prosecutor’s Office.

Israeli judicial system is largely independent of the government and is ranked 14th in the world. The recommended indictments show that the allegations are credible and need to be thoroughly investigated.

The PM is desperately holding on to power to avoid accountability. He needs to be ousted and held accountable.

This is necessary to ensure the integrity and prestige of the Prime Minister’s Office, which has been eroded under the rule of the current occupant.

It is time for Israel to get a new leader who will restore the moral standing of the office.

Many Israeli politicians who broke the laws have been held accountable and it is no reason why Bibi is an exception to this rule.

About the Author
Maa Zhi Hong is a political analyst in Singapore. His official Instagram account is @maazhihongofficial
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