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Netanyahu Has Left Crumbs for Likud’s Beggars

A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el
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Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, 2021.
Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, 2021.Credit: Maya Alleruzzo / AP
A photo of Dr. Zvi Bar'el.
Zvi Bar'el

We are slowly getting used to the idea that Itamar Ben-Gvir will be the public security minister. And not just a minister, but the police’s czar. He will set policy for them, be able to intervene in their investigations, give operational orders to the police commissioner and effectively be the commissioner in chief. Now, we only need two more pieces to complete this horrifying puzzle – Bezalel Smotrich and Arye Dery.

We were shocked when it turned out that Smotrich might become defense minister and horrified when we realized that the thief was about to be appointed finance minister. In the end (maybe), they’ll be castled – the thief will move to the Interior Ministry and the other one to the treasury. And then we’ll finally have the government of our dreams, a perfect machine in which all the gears mesh, ready to carry out the voters’ will.

The tragic optical illusion is that in the preoccupation over which ministries Smotrich, Ben-Gvir and Dery would get, all the other portfolios and positions this government will have to fill have been forgotten. Even the horror over those three appointments has begun to dissipate.

Far-right Israeli lawmakers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset in JerusalemCredit: POOL/ REUTERS

After all, these are just three portfolios. Granted, they are extremely senior portfolios, but the fantasy is that they’ll be swallowed up by a sane rightist majority, assimilate among the other 27 ministers and be ironed out by the prime minister – a democrat, a liberal and a scholar who won’t allow the justice system, our relationship with America or chances for peace with the Palestinians to be destroyed.

Soon, we may even start feeling sorry for the prime minister, who will have to cope with all these pressures. He’ll have to deal with the hungry thugs who have moved from the terraces on which they grew up as hilltop youth into the heart of the country and will now be its masters.

But the “processes” former MK Yair Golan so accurately identified have now come to fruition, and not by accident. The head that made the plans and the hands that executed them both belong to the same man.

Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t pushed into a corner. He built them up, recruited them and is willing to pay any price. The wunderkind of politics, the indefatigable magician who knows every trick in the book, isn’t the victim of their mischief.

Likud supporters at the party headquarters on Election Day.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

He will now presumably manage to pull off one more trick and form a government. But this will no longer be his or his Likud party’s government. He willingly conceded that.

Because it doesn’t actually matter who bears the title of defense, public security, interior or finance minister. This will be a revolutionary government, and its goal is to ensure the prime minister’s freedom over many years in power with no checks and balances. Its ideology won’t be dictated by Likud, but by the settlers’ rabbis, and they will seek to create a single-value country – Jewish in the racist sense, democratic only insofar as permitted by Jewish law, whose interpretation will be entrusted to those who are now turning the screws.

The breadth of the powers Ben-Gvir is demanding, and will get, along with the power that Smotrich will have as finance minister and Dery will have as interior minister, will turn all other government ministries into satellites whose functions and budgets will be derived from the scraps the landlords throw them.

In other times, there would be a lot of shouting and heated arguments about the appointment of the education, justice, health or social affairs ministers – about their suitability for their posts, and perhaps even something about reforms of these vital fields. But now, any talk about those, if it’s happening at all, has become an unnecessary annoyance.

After all, who knows who will be appointed education minister, and who would even want to become health minister, when these are the ministries left for Likud’s poor, who are waiting like beggars at an intersection for whatever coins the prime minister tosses them after having given his whole wallet to the looters?

Likud, the largest party, has been taken captive by a gang that is now dictating the rules of the street. Instead of being a soloist, Likud has become the chorus line. Hundreds of thousands of rightists voted for Likud and wanted Bibi – but now what they’ve gotten is Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. They are a ruling party without power. Maybe now, they understand what betrayal really is.

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