Frimet Roth

Contemplating prime ministerial failure

Today, it is abundantly clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu has failed big-time. He remains, undoubtedly, a political ace. But his futile fight against a soft agreement with Iran — the cause he pursued most indefatigably of all — leaves him a defeated man.

Where did he go wrong?

Consider the take of Avigdor Liberman, the person who “has worked more closely than any other Israeli politician, and for longer, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [in a] working relationship which began in the late 1980s.

The problem is that Bibi is only battling to survive. The only thing that interests him is his political survival… He’d say he has to survive in order to prevent Iran from attaining the bomb? On Iran too, it’s all talk. It’s all talk. Kalam fadi. Piste meisis. Hakol diburim. Parole parole. Just talk. Iran has stopped taking us seriously. It’s a case of the dog that barks and barks: A dog that barks doesn’t bite. As I always say, if you want to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.


Interviewer: Israel missed the moment to intervene?


It’s our obligation to prevent Iran from (attaining) nuclear weapons. It’s possible (to achieve this). But for real efforts, real desire to stop Iran, you need a completely other leadership. It’s not enough to give a speech in Washington or to blame the world. If someone is not capable of facing up to Hamas and finishing the story of Hamas, what, is he really capable of facing up to Iran?


Interviewer: This prime minister will not act to stop Iran?


It’s clear that he doesn’t have any intention to do what we need to do to prevent Iran from (attaining) nuclear capabilities. It’s only, you know, public disputes. Another interview. Another interview.


Interviewer: He’s too scared?


I don’t know. I’m not getting into his personality. It is truly our obligation to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. It can be done. But not the way we’re going.


[Source: “Netanyahu seen as ineffectual, paranoid by longtime former ally“, The Times of Israel, June 11, 2015]

We said the same about Netanyahu way before that interview. It was clear to us in April 2015 that his mollycoddling of Hamas would stymie his efforts to denuclearize Iran.

Netanyahu himself was aware of that. He has endeavored to bury his shameful Shalit Deal and its repercussions. Information about the activities of the released terrorists since the Deal in October 2011 is carefully concealed from the public. That’s how damning it is.

Here is what we wrote some months ago (and before the Liberman interview) about the Shalit Deal and its impact on Netanyahu’s campaign against a deal with Iran:

As we are all aware, Mr. Netanyahu has sought long and hard to galvanize the major powers against a nuclear Iran.

There was his controversial speech to the U.S. Congress in which he warned that Iran and ISIS are competing for what he termed “the crown of militant Islam”.


In this deadly game of thrones,” he said “there is no place for America or Israel.”


And in September 2014, after ISIS catapulted itself onto the world’s stage with its string of videotaped beheadings,

Netanyahu asserted to the UN General Assembly that ISIS and Hamas “are branches of the same poisonous tree.”


When French Jews were massacred earlier this year, Netanyahu was quick to march against terrorism in the streets of Paris along with other world leaders. “They bomb churches in Iraq; they slaughter tourists in Bali; they rocket civilians from Gaza; and strive to build nuclear weapons in Iran… we have to fight these enemies of our common civilization,” he tweeted at the time.


In mid-December, when a self-styled Iranian sheikh held people hostage in a Sydney café for hours and killed three of them, Netanyahu said “Israel and Australia face the same scourge of ruthless Islamist terrorism which knows no geographic bounds and targets innocent civilians indiscriminately.”


Yet despite these efforts, upon the signing of a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1, it became clear that Netanyahu’s travels, speeches, tweets and interviews had failed.


Quite possibly, Mr. Netanyahu’s credibility is to blame.

He is, after all, the only world leader to have ever freed hundreds of convicted terrorists. This fact will forever blemish his record.


While he strove valiantly, despite it, to convince everyone of his commitment to fighting terrorism, he faced an uphill battle. On which planet does the “general” of the global war on terror present the enemy — as he did — with a huge cadre of devoted, experienced soldiers?


[Source: “On marathons, massacres and mendacity“, Frimet Roth, The Times of Israel, April 22, 2015]

This week’s events have shown us that riding roughshod over justice, denigrating murder victims and ignoring your constituents comes at a price — even if your name is Netanyahu.

About the Author
A Jerusalem-based freelance writer, law graduate and commentator on the challenges facing people with special needs, Frimet Roth together with her husband Arnold co-founded The Malki Foundation ( in 2001. It provides concrete support for Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child. The Roths' daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the terrorist bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria. Her personal blog, under the title "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly", is at The views expressed here are personal.
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