Something Is Very Wrong — Critical Choices

Elections are about the future. We want the best possible person to lead us there. We can only judge what we know about a person, we should avoid anything else. To do so, we should evaluate our future; what challenges does it bear?

Our needs are obvious; we need to overcome the Corona, we need to rehabilitate the economy, and we need, as always, to survive in this treacherous corner of the world.

For too long, the agenda has been about the personality of one man. But what does it matter what kind of person our leader is? The answer is it does not matter; the only thing that matters is the results the leader will bring.

Like everybody else, I was bitterly critical of Netanyahu. As we approached the elections, I awaited the new Golden Dawn of a post-Netanyahu era. Then something strange happened. One of the things I have wanted most was happening. Pollard came home. I am an old-fashioned Zionist; this homecoming meant a lot; I was grateful. In the same week, I had a sense of elation. I was getting my Corona vaccine, an immense relief at the end of this frightening epidemic. A year of torment was coming to an end, and normality was in sight. This was a miracle. We were the first country in the world to race towards the light at the end of the tunnel. More, over the last month, I have had a heightened sense of ‘this can’t really be happening. ‘We witnessed a mindboggling procession of Arab states making peace.

And this was all due to one person. That man was the maligned Netanyahu. The end of the Corona era will come rapidly because of Bibi. There is no other contender for the leadership role as we retool our economy;  no person has his record of handling the economy. We did not succumb to the previous economic morass as the world’s financial institutions careered over the precipice. Netanyahu’s led Israel dodged the bullet. The man is gifted; he has all the abilities we need. Netanyahu has the results to show. Yet the most proficient is the most maligned and no one asks why.

The Likud, my party, must win the next election. Our leader is the man to lead. The biggest obstacle is the mind-numbing, never-ending attack on Netanyahu and in particular the upcoming trial.

Let us look closely at this trial. Netanyahu and I have one thing in common; we are both civil servants. If I were to accept at present from somebody I served, I would expect to come before a disciplinary committee. I most certainly would not be brought before a policeman, nor would I expect to go on trial. Probably I would be reprimanded. If I were to accept or even elicit presents from friends, I would expect absolutely nothing to happen. Seemingly this is not the same for Netanyahu. That raises many questions.

Yet there is more- the second case. Politicians live in symbiosis with the press; this is axiomatic. It is hardly surprising when the media is hostile, the politician will do everything to negate negativity. This is not bribery, nor is it corruption. We want an open society with the freedom of the press. There must be an untrammeled relationship between the politician and the media. Why is this even bought into question?  Why is Netanyahu judged in another light? Who decided that he is different?

The third case; the one dealing with Bezek communications is questionable. Nobody has suggested that Netanyahu received monetary recompense. The motive resorts to the previous issue of a politician seeking better public coverage.

We see here a man who has been brought to trial on three different counts. One can ask which other politician has been judged in the same way? The answer is no one.

I now accept there has been a campaign to delegitimize a man voted into power. One must ask another question. When has an investigation been conducted so openly and leaked so often as this one? The investigation, which should have been done in-camera was used to pillory the man before his trial. How on earth can Netanyahu get a fair trial after all this publicity? The answer is he cannot.

Netanyahu is my choice for prime minister. By deciding that I want Netanyahu, I had to overcome stubborn cognitive obstacles. I had to accept, unwillingly the claim made by people who I thought were hysterical Neanderthals. Benyamin Netanyahu has been set up and almost brought down contrary to the people’s wishes. The election box spoke and was ignored; indeed, this is a blatant attack on democracy. This must be corrected and immediately.

To win the next election we, the Likud must concentrate on the positive aspects of our leader. We must emphasize there is but one person who can lead us in this critical moment in our history.

We must do more than that. We must prevent this antidemocratic act from ever repeating itself. To do so, we must learn from what happened. The role of the Legal Advisor has been grievously subverted and manipulated.  The role has morphed from giving opinions to handing down dictates. The office merged with an imperialistic crusading Judiciary. They decide theirs is not to interpret the law legislators meant but to impart what it should say. In one sweep they replaced the election booth with cronyism and a one-dimensional, antiquated, and unchallengeable political hegemony- theirs.

The time has come to split the role of the legal adviser into two. The legal adviser must be just that; they must be completely loyal and advise the Prime Minister. This means that the role of the attorney general must be separated from that of the legal adviser. The Prime Minister is a civil servant. When he behaves in an unseemly manner, he must be brought before the appropriate behaviour committee as would any other civil servant. The Prime Minister office must have an ombudsman as in every other ministry. It is ludicrous that we will stop the country’s functioning because these institutions were not in place. We cannot undergo this nightmare again. We must institute the French provision where Prime Minister and President cannot be investigated or placed on trial whilst in office. In return, the length of time served by the Prime Minister must be limited to 12 years. We must face down the rampaging Judiciary. The Knesset represents me; the High Court does not.

The real struggle is over the government. We must delineate and define the different roles of the executive, the lawmakers, the service providers, the Judiciary, and the media. We must fill the vacuum the High Court and the legal profession filled while overstepping all boundaries. This overdue correction must not be stopped by the pre-emptive strike we experience against the Premier.

About the Author
Born in Leeds in 1944, Michael Benjamin is a retired Psychiatrist and medical auditor, co-founder of Oranit, aspiring author and inveterate cynic.
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