The Public’s Silence Helped Netanyahu’s Abuse of Israelis

The feeling of catharsis that arose after the attorney general’s decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for some reason had to be buried deep in the ground, hidden from view. “A sad day,” pundits and politicians wailed. “A difficult day for Israeli democracy.”

But at least they didn’t ask to mark the occasion with a national day of mourning or commemorate it with songs like “By the Rivers of Babylon.”

Then they tut-tutted about that Netanyahu heaping slime and filth on the system of law enforcement, as if the angel Gabriel himself had started cursing, rather than a serial slime-slinger who under different circumstances would have been placed under arrest until the end of judicial proceedings against him due to fear that he would influence witnesses and continue to incite against the state’s institutions.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 50

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 50Haaretz

The law, which Netanyahu knew how to twist and distort, and the justice system, which he sees as an enemy, are now the horns of his altar. All of a sudden he says that he’ll do everything by the book and that “the whole process will ultimately be decided in court and we will accept its decision.”

The law, the suspect explained to us, has determined that an elected prime minister can remain in office after being indicted. He can abuse the state until he receives a final verdict and can then ask for immunity.

We’ll wait patiently, says the polite public. Just a little longer, just a few more years. First the district court will rule, and then the Supreme Court, and finally, you’ll see, it will turn out fine. We’ve already accepted our premise. He is a suspect who holds fast to the presumption of innocence. The bluff is that the legal process, including Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s decision, has coated us with perfume against the stink, a fragrance of lavender and lemons, to the point where we’re sure that we have succeeded in shaking off the cloud of shame and remaining pure.

But the stink permeates every corner – clothing, hair, mind and heart. We’ve quickly gotten used to the fact that if the attorney general closes a case, that means there’s no culpability. We adopted the idea that if the chance of a conviction isn’t 100 percent, then the suspect is as pure as the driven snow.