The PM and his audience

Thursday night Israel’s citizens were treated to a most unusual show. PM Netanyahu gave a class act performance, smooth, articulate and as it were convincing. Anyone tuning in and not understanding Hebrew would give a top grade to the rhetorical flair, the eye movements, the hand movements. Turn off the sound and you have an innocent leader turning the tables and making his absurd accusers out to be gangsters in need of inquiry.

So I guess Netanyahu’s audience doesn’t speak Hebrew. Or doesn’t trust words. Or doesn’t think. Or something.

The transcript sans show business is another story. The PM has been PM for a decade, which makes him responsible for an ersatz corrupt police force cum prosecution. He himself appointed all of his evil accusers. Could anyone in his right mind believe that the PM only now discovered how the police and prosecution work? Did it never occur to him that the only way to get information from the mob is to make them more afraid of the police than of the godfather. Were Netanyahu’s peons so afraid of him and what he may have on them that this sort of inquiry was necessary? Is there a democratic state anywhere where police just politely ask mobsters to please speak the truth, but if not, no consequences? Doesn’t Netanyahu’s audience watch movies?

The PM is also a professor of history. The (corrupt) use of bribes to influence the press has never ever been investigated. Ever. In the world. 42 MPs voted against the PM’s private newspaper, entirely funded by Sheldon Adelson and thus obviously giving away a bushel of political influence. Why would they vote against such a private news media? Because they were bribed by Yediot Aharonot! Bribed. The PM has the goods on them all, but they were not investigated because “they” get preferential treatment by the police and prosecution. Sounds like a plot….

But the worst part is at another level. The PM is under investigation. The only issue at hand is his guilt or innocence. That will be determined in court. But before court is in session, the “defense” has declared the entire procedure invalid (aka “undemocratic”). All testimony against the PM is invalid. The police are not police, the prosecutor is not a prosecutor. Probably the judges are not judges.

SO who are they? That’s where things get sinister. The whole investigation, all of the “fabricated” cases, are a plot. Not against the PM, says the PM. Against…well that was hard to follow. Netanyahu worked with vague allusions to suggest that the plot is against freedom. The PM himself is the master of freedom. A strange mix of freedoms: economic freedom, freedom of the press, things that for some reason his accusers want to topple.

Then we get to the war cry. Citizens, rise up! And do what exactly? Well, demand that the investigators be investigated. Which investigators? The PM’s, I guess. Wait a moment, someone under indictment is allowed to incite publicly against the police case against him? In a democracy? I thought that falls under some law about obstructing justice. Well, the PM just adds that to the list of freedoms he heroically dedicated his life to preserving: the right to obstruct justice.

And rise to do what else? Rise up to stop this illegal attempt to try the PM. Rise up how exactly? Wait and we will see. I doubt the PM thinks so highly of the audience that could be influenced by this show that he will leave it to their imagination…

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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