Our Strong Leader, Just Another Dumb Dog Owner

Hold the press: Bibi’s dog Kaiya bites again, her fourth victim, once again defying the basic rule of journalism that “dog bites man” is not news.

Judging by some of the responses to Kaiya’s most recent offense, which was reported yesterday, the reason Kaiya continues to make headlines is that the left-wing media has no respect for the privacy of the Netanyahu household. Indeed, some of the stories that have come out of that beleaguered Prime Minister’s residence would not be newsworthy if they would have taken place in the home of Moshe Cohen from Be’er Sheva. But if national leaders are held under closer scrutiny than the average citizen that’s only because they are supposed to set an example and at the very least obey the law.

For example: Israeli Prime Ministers are expected to fully compensate their hired help, regardless if the term of employment went sour due to the temperament of a certain family member. The Netanyahus’ abysmal track record on this score has been well-documented. PMs are expected to pay for feeding their dogs and not ask for public funding to cover this expense. Bibi, though, had the unmitigated gall to ask the PM’s Office if he could dip into the common cookie jar for Kaiya’s upkeep. No, I’m not making this up (see above link). And PMs are also expected to take basic precautions to ensure that their pups don’t sink their teeth into house guests and employees.

To dispel any notions of prejudice against man’s best friend, and as a former dog owner, I believe that when a dog takes a bite out of human flesh, that animal should not be punished for the misdeed, as responsibility lies elsewhere (more on that later). But I have no patience for certain canine advocates who inexplicably insist that the victims of dog bites have only themselves to blame as they “don’t know how to behave around dogs.”

To be sure, some dog-bite victims can be pretty dumb, especially when they’re drunk and getting too friendly with dogs they don’t know. And let’s face it, there are some dumb dogs out there too. But a more telling observation is that there are lots of dumb dog owners who pose a threat to public safety, and some, embarrassingly, just happen to be in the public eye. Which brings us back to Kaiya, and Bibi.

To Mister Netanyahu’s credit, he let the poor dog, a 10-year-old mixed breed with a physical defect, into his home last summer when his son sought to save him from the authorities who were about to “put him to sleep.” The PM also called on Israelis to adopt a dog and “in this way save a life.”

But so much for setting an example. The rest is a farce, as the Netanyahus apparently don’t know much about keeping a problematic dog under their roof and Kaiya proceeded to earn notoriety as a serial biter. If there is one thing you can say about this critter, she sure knows how to pick her prey by starting from the top and working her way down the food chain, a dog with a sharp bite and sense of humor. Shortly after her adoption, Kaiya bit Bibi himself, setting off the first in a series of Tetanus shots. Next, at a menorah lighting ceremony on Hanukkah, Kaiya proceeded to assault the guests, getting her teeth marks into a Likud MK and the husband of the Deputy Foreign Minister. Most recently, she nibbled on one of the security guards in the PM’s residence. All of her victims received medical attention, and Kaiya earned ten days in a detention center following her Hanukkah outburst.

As far as penalizing the owners, Israeli law stipulates that owners of dangerous dogs, i.e., dogs over the age of 3-months that bite, who let their dogs roam without a muzzle or a leash, risk stiff fines and up to one year of imprisonment. But it is unlikely that Bibi will ever be held to account for Kaiya’s misdeeds. Israel has already proven that no one is above the law by imprisoning former Prime Minister Olmert, former President Katsav and a host of Knesset MKs for their various crimes. To do the same to an incumbent PM would be unprecedented. However, if Netanyahu were to be fined (which I would support) or even imprisoned (which I would probably oppose as no one was seriously hurt, at least as far as we know) that wouldn’t necessarily impede his longevity as the (serial) Israeli PM. Indeed, the way Bibi keeps getting re-elected, one might expect his tenure in office to outlast the lifespans of half the population of Israel.

The reason for this, according to his supporters, is that Israel needs a “strong leader,” which doesn’t make much sense as Bibi has proven time and again that he is nothing of the sort. And contrary to the popular belief that some dogs are just like their owners, Kayia, whose bite is probably much worse than her bark, (indeed, we don’t much about her bark), is the opposite of Bibi, whose oft-heard and well known bark is much worse than his bite.

Concisely, Bibi promised us security, which must have sounded like a loud and clear bark to all those who seek to maim and kill Israelis. But the maiming and killing hasn’t stopped or even slowed down. After nearly a decade of his non-ending terms in office covering numerous rocket attacks, two Gaza campaigns and the current intifada, Bibi’s response is emphatically devoid of teeth.

By comparison, ex-PM Olmert at least had the gumption to attack Syria’s nuclear facility without letting out a single bark, or giving the enemy the courtesy of a warning call. Bibi, on the other hand, has made so much noise about Iran and accomplished so little that no one can rightfully call him a regional watchdog, as he so misleadingly postures himself. And when Bibi dramatically came out in support of the two-state solution in his now long forgotten 2009 Bar Ilan speech, that too turned out to be no more than a feeble bark in the night that no one took seriously.

On Bibi’s watch, all we can expect is more violence, more international isolation, increased anti-Semitism worldwide and a lasting state of emergency. Some watchdog.

For starters, our strong leader should put a muzzle on his dog. Then, let’s see if he can tame all those maniacs who stab people with knives, open fire in crowds or ram cars into bus stops. Until then, we can all play it safe and look over our shoulders.

About the Author
Avi Shamir is a freelance writer, editor, translator and the author of "Saving the Game," a novel about baseball. A Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in English, Avi has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, The Nation, Israel Scene, In English and The World Zionist Press Service.