Netanyahu’s Speech to the Nation

Citizens of Israel, Good Evening.

I have chosen to ask for television and radio air time, and for your time, to discuss the recent elections, and the dangerous developments in the region.  In spite of the establishment media’s demonstrated hostility towards me and my family, they have granted me that time. I thank them for placing the national interest, for once, over their political preference.

As you know, the results of the April election seemingly produced a clear-cut victory for the “National Camp”, an endorsement for the continuation of the existing government, with myself as Prime Minister.  However, one man, Avigdor Lieberman, for reasons only known to him, placed his personal interests over everything else and prevented me from forming a stable government, thus necessitating another election.

These last months have been especially difficult for me.  The unrelenting, ad hominem attacks against my family, the tendentious leaking of deliberately twisted material from endless and enormously costly judicial investigations, and the mobilization of powerful forces within the bowels of the state bureaucracy all had one purpose: to remove me, a legitimately elected leader, from power, against the repeatedly expressed will of the people.

However, as you know, these pressures and difficulties never caused me to waver. I have always put the need to safely steer our little David of a State through the dangerous waters that threaten our existence.  Only this week, the murderous mullahs of Tehran, who have never ceased their efforts to develop a nuclear weapon which they boast would be directed against us, again flexed their muscles in an unprecedented, brazen attack against Saudi oil refineries that threaten to disrupt the world’s oil supplies.  Its Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist clients exist only thanks to Iran’s support. But Israel’s arm is long, and under my leadership has never ceased to act to protect its interests, and prevent Iran from imposing its hegemony throughout the region.  And it’s been thanks to my efforts that world leaders, from Donald Trump, to Vladimir Putin, to India’s Prime Minister Modi, to the Chinese leadership, and yes, even European Union leaders, have been alerted to the Iranian danger, and to the fact that Israel can and will protect its security.  Never again will the Jewish people stand helpless in the face of its potential exterminators.

Citizens of Israel:  I admit to you, honestly and frankly, that I had hoped that this election would produce the outcome desired by the majority of the Israeli population – a strong, stable government devoted to the continued security and well-being of the country, under my stewardship.  It was my belief that Israel’s unprecedented standing in the international arena, its booming economy and its ability to deter and punish would-be aggressors would be translated into electoral success.  I tried my best to prevent the significant election fraud which marred the last elections and cost the Likud a victory, but my proposed steps to ensure transparency were blocked.  And yes, as I had warned, apathy and exhaustion among our supporters, and strenuous efforts to ensure that Arab voters would flock to the polls on behalf of the anti-Zionist Joint List were realized.

At the moment, there is no clear path forward towards establishing the broad-based unity government that the country needs.  The reason is simple – the Left wants to veto the unchallenged leader of the National Camp – me, as a price for joining forces with it.  They want my head, regardless of the upcoming judicial hearing in which my lawyers will finally have a chance to refute the nefarious allegations against me; they want my head, regardless of the fact that by law, a sitting Prime Minister may remain in office even if an indictment is filed against him.  Apparently, those who trumpet their supposed adherence to the rule of law have forgotten, in this case, the fundamental principal that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  There are those who suggest that I accept a plea bargain – the reduction of the charges being leveled against me, in return for my retiring from political life.  However, this repugnant idea goes against every fiber in my being.  Under no circumstances will I admit to the alleged crimes and misdemeanors being hurled at me.

Citizens of Israel.  As some of you may know, my father, Benzion Netanyahu, of blessed memory, was a renowned historian of the Jews of Spain, and particularly of the horrors visited upon our people by the Spanish Inquisition.  As he well knew from his own experience, the judgement of history is often kind:  after having been denied the recognition he deserved by his erstwhile colleagues at The Hebrew University, owing solely to his political beliefs, his contribution was eventually duly recognized by leading historians the world over.  Great political leaders in the 20th century have also been judged kindly by history, after having been forced into the political wilderness:  Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Charles De Gaulle, Richard Nixon, and even David Ben-Gurion.  In their greatness, they were guided by an overriding concern for the national interest, for the well-being of their nation, with personal interests playing no part in their decisions.  As a student of history, and of a historian, these giants have been my role models.

Citizens of Israel:  More than ever, our country needs a strong and stable government to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity in the coming weeks and months.  The last thing it needs is another costly, lengthy and divisive election campaign, whose results are unlikely to break the existing stalemate.  Having always believed that the State of Israel comes before all else, I have therefore decided to temporarily withdraw from political life, so that those who preach unity can now have no excuses.  The public will, I am sure, hold them accountable for their actions.  As for me, I will use this time out to fight with every ounce of strength, with every bone in my body, to refute the litany of supercilious and unsubstantiated charges against me, while also being prepared, as always, to do my part to ensure Israel’s security and safety.  In doing so, I will draw strength from Sara, my devoted wife and personal Rock of My Existence, and from you, the nation.

Good night, and Happy New Year to the entire People of Israel.

About the Author
Associate Professor, Dept. of History of the Middle East and Africa, and Senior Research Fellow, the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies,Tel Aviv University; Associate Scholar, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA
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