Corona Chronicle

Something is rotten here in Israel and its name is not Corona.

Tonight’s Nightly Netanyahu Show turned a bad corner. The PM, who has been hogging prime time now for a while began to attack his citizens. The gist: You folks don’t get it, nu nu nu! for going to the beach and parks. You are silly children and I-I-I need to remind you that you gotta listen to Big Daddy and stop acting normal when I tell you to. [Subtext in Netanyahese: It will be YOUR fault if the virus spreads]. Now of course the virus is gonna “spread” big time tomorrow when the government finally gets its act together, a good two weeks late, to start making some reasonable amount of testing. So of course the “number” will jump. The PM has prepared an exit for this obvious change, and he will use the change – entirely the fault of those bad children who went to the beach today- to make more stringent rules beacuse we have been bad. It also justifies the outrageous use of spying on citizens , who need it and deserve it. The governement has been the best in the world, but the people, well…

This is an outrageous sleaze. Brought to you by the PM who stole from the health budget time and time again to buy off his “natural” allies, and to buy his wife a private plane. And then grossly abused corona to cancel his own trial.

“You bad children are not listening to me!” said Big Daddy. As a family therapist, I would encourage the PM to look in the mirror to see why he has so little credence. He has now lost 3 suscessive elections and in a country with a firmer grip on democratic process would be standing trial rather than acting like God Himself. He gutted all social programs, not just health, and has firmly allied himslef with the ultra-rich elite in all of his decisions. Hello? – Are you the right person to help the public into a major change of thinking and behaving? Hello?

The Corona chronicle will ultimately be judged as an enormous media flop, from the PM’s explaining what a tissue is to the simple fact that no one in  their right mind can believe a word he says. A PM who had any glimmer of concern for public behavior at this challenging time would “recuse” himself from the crucial role of getting the population in line with recommendations. That is what PM Shamir, who now looks like a giant compared to his successor, did in the first Gulf War in 1991. He appointed Nahman Shai to be the public figure for people to internalize and comply with, and it worked even though his premier performance was an outrageous lie that no damage was done while people zapped to CNN for footage of a home utterly destroyed. He was the right man, the right image, it fit with what people needed and it worked.

The PM is not the right man nor the right image. He is embroiled in vicious attacks on half of his people- the “traitors” who did not vote for him. It would have been right to say that while in the midst of a political struggle, a non-controversial figure, preferable a physician – probably a woman family doctor – would fit the bill. This is a test of media – did anyone give any serious professional attention to how to make this media event work? And they came up with the PM? I doubt it.

Tomorrow the “numbers” will jump and then the PM –  a first class manipulator and a genius for seeing three of four steps ahead-will bring it all down on the fault of the people, who knows, maybe mainly the “Left”. The stringent orders that should have been applied a week ago will now be blamed on the people, not on the horrible state of medical care for which the PM bears responsibility. And the Israeli people – a people who have proven over and over again their ability to follow orders given by a worthy commander in all situations – will be vilified and punished by the individual least worthy to give any orders to anyone.

Hopefully this maneuver will be Netanyahu’s swan song.

About the Author
Alan Flashman was born in Foxborough, MA, and gained his BA from Columbia, MD from NYU, Pediatrics, Adult and Child Psychiatry specialties at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Bronx, NY. He has practiced in Beer Sheba since 1983, and taught mental health at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University. He is currently CEO of Family Instiute of Neve Yerushalyim, sponsoring a first fully accredited post-masters training in family therapy for the Haredi community. Alan has edited readers on Therapeutic Communication with Children (2002) and Adolescents (2005) in Hebrew, translated Buber's I and Thou anew into Hebrew, and authored Losing It, an autobiography, and From Protection to Passover.
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