Netanyahu Forces Gantz’s Hand Even Before They Swear in a Government

The Knesset hall had been scrubbed and sterilized, and Kahol Lavan’s new ministers were feeling tingles of excitement. And yet, as with everything Benjamin Netanyahu arranges, the last minute was actually the next-to-last minute – before the anticlimax. Netanyahu, having failed to appease his party’s whiners, twisted the arm of his new buddy, Benny Gantz, one more time and forced him to postpone the swearing-in ceremony to Sunday.

As expected, the Kahol Lavan chief insisted that the swearing-in be held Thursday night. After all, hadn’t he and his people endured enough? But then Gantz yielded to Netanyahu. Apparently this was a sneak peek.

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Perhaps as befitting his lifestyle, Netanyahu’s fifth government will be Israel’s largest and most expensive ever. He too started out moderately ambitious and became the messiah king. There was a time when he would have settled for one cigar box, not whole crates.

Times change, his appetite grew. Still, it seems the current ministerial monster is the lesser of evils. If another election had been called, it very likely would have increased the right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc and helped Netanyahu implement his plan to take over the law enforcement system, dismiss the attorney general and appoint a bath mat looking like Dan Eldad. If Eldad had remained state prosecutor during Netanyahu’s corruption trial due to start this month, that would have been a great help to Defendant No. 1.

New laws would have crushed the Supreme Court, neutralized the attorney general and awarded the cabinet and governing coalition absolute power. Maybe we wouldn’t be like Turkey, but we’d be approaching Viktor Orban-land, a pariah in the Western world. But the Hungarian’s Israeli colleague sees him as a close friend and maybe even as a mentor – a limited democracy in the service of one man.

The new coalition will ensure that the prime minister’s trial proceeds as it should, to its end. With the justice portfolio in the hands Kahol Lavan’s Avi Nissenkorn, the courts won’t be closed down even if a thousand more coronavirus patients are discovered.

Netanyahu knows this, so he’s augmenting his legal team while firing up the incitement and slander. This is a multiarmed machine, an evil empire stretching from the prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street, where the main well-poisoner resides. It stretches to his collaborators in the cabinet and the Knesset, to outposts in the media, and to the sewage flowing on social media.