Not a smidgen of humility or regret did we hear from defendant Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday night. Israel’s first sitting prime minister to be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust neither bowed his head in shame nor gave any other indication of soul-searching.
Like any garden-variety criminal, he assailed the police investigators, the prosecutors and the attorney general in crude language and with boundless chutzpah. With his back to the wall, both figuratively and literally, and facing trial, maybe even prison, he gave shape to what has been written on the wall for three years now: He has no intention of going quietly and cutting his losses.
His hatred for the system and his deep conviction that he has been persecuted through no fault of his own, that he’s the victim of a Kafkaesque witch hunt, will lead him to places Israel has never gone before. It would be no exaggeration to say that the state is now in great danger. The security threats are significant and require judgment and supreme responsibility. But the man whose hands are on the wheel is fighting for his life, and he’s capable of anything.
The flags behind the prime minister’s residence were the same flags, the blazer was the same blazer. But the man in the suit wasn’t the same as he was the day before. He seemed empty, frightened, desperate. Like some kook who wanders the streets muttering meaninglessly into the air, he reiterated the talking points and clichés that he and his spokespeople have been reciting with varying intensity since 2017.
The defendant Netanyahu is more isolated than ever. His inner circle is filled with dubious characters, some of whom were recently questioned by the police on suspicion of witness tampering and harassment.
And at home await his wife and son, whose emotional stability some would term questionable. They are responsible – through their wickedness and infinite greed – for a large portion of his problems. As long as they’re around, dominating and controlling him, he’ll go from failure to failure.
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