What Limor Livnat, a loyal Likud Party member, teaches us all about the danger’s of Netanyahu’s dictatorial attempts to preserve power at all costs and at Israel’s expense

Jul 03, 2019 Published under Introspection

Yedioth Ahronoth– June 25, 2019

Making a Mockery of All of Us

By Limor Livnat, former minister, Likud Party

  • Way up on high, on a planet of his own, lives a cynical, alienated leader whose remarks, speeches and fervently-made promises have no bearing at all on what he actually does in practice—in the dark, behind the backs of his supporters, his voters and subjects. But Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t act alone. Several ministers and MKs help him with alacrity—at least until they find themselves snubbed. Just ask Ayoub Kara, who has now resigned his ministerial post, or anyone else whom Netanyahu thought might pose a threat to his continued rule, such as Moshe Kahlon, Gideon Saar and others.
  • Ever since the results were in from the elections, which he moved up to serve his own personal needs, Netanyahu has balked at nothing in his attempt to form a coalition government. At any price. A government, which he wants so badly to form, would be able to pass into legislation the immunity bills and an expanded override clause, just when he wanted to extricate himself from a hearing and possibly from an indictment as well. So what if he promised over a lengthy period of time that he was eager to be given a hearing, where he would be able to prove that “there isn’t anything because there wasn’t anything?” So he said. After the elections he tried every trick in the book to refrain from picking up the investigation material. Yes, he still enjoys the presumption of innocence. But in order to prove his innocence, one would have thought that he would do everything, literally everything, to capitalize on that opportunity and not to try to avoid this on the pretext that his lawyers weren’t paid and other excuses. 
  • When he realized that Lieberman wasn’t going to join the coalition and had left him without a majority in the Knesset, and after he tried every means possible to persuade MKs from Blue and White to defect, Netanyahu violated the Likud constitution and had Kahlon and his Kulanu Party merged into the Likud by means of a vote in the Likud Secretariat, even though the party constitution stipulates that a decision of that kind can only be made by the Likud Central Committee. Well, if the new, temporary and fawning justice minister said that we don’t have to comply with High Court of Justice rulings (though he did walk back that statement subsequently, and it’s good that he did), why should we uphold the Likud constitution? Who is bound by it? The Likud’s supreme court ruled in a majority opinion vote that that was a legitimate decision, while citing arguments that it was imperative to prevent a left-wing government from being formed. Menachem Begin would never have bought that. 
  • Then Netanyahu and his closest advisers applied themselves to intensive coalition negotiations. They offered the world to the Labor Party. Senior ministerial portfolios for Avi Gabbay, Tal Rousso, Shelly Yachimovich and Stav Shaffir—while conceding every Likud principle. Negotiations to form a unity government were held with Benny Gantz and his aides. Apparently, that proposal wasn’t rejected outright and was only scuttled on account of Yair Lapid’s opposition. And in his desperate attempts to prevent the president from tasking anyone else with the job of forming the next government, Netanyahu even reportedly held negotiations with the Arab MKs. Lord have mercy. The very man who charged that Gantz would work with the Arab MKs went and stuck a dirty deal with them behind closed doors twice: first to ensure a majority to dissolve the Knesset; then in the election of the new state comptroller. 
  • So is it either Bibi or Tibi? It turns out that it’s Bibi and Tibi. And now, the peak from Netanyahu and crew: they are now looking into ways to cancel the elections that are scheduled to be held on September 17. Because who needs elections? Why waste all that money? Just yesterday the cabinet voted in favor of a “small” 1.4 billion shekel across-the-board budget cut—NIS 80 million of which is from the education budget.
  • The depth of that disdainful disrespect for the rules and tools of democracy long ago crossed every boundary. Netanyahu plays with the tools that he has been given as Likud chairman and prime minister as if they were his personal toys, and he invokes the names of his spiritual fathers in vain. An election was held. Another one was called. Then they decided to cancel it. Or maybe they will hold it after all. June 2019 has been a hot month. They’re making a mockery of the law and of us.
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