April 18, 1997
Those of you living outside of Israel may be slightly confused as to what exactly is happening here. On the face of it Channel One reporter Ayela Hasson is an Israeli version of Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein, rolled into one female investigative newsperson. The biggest scandal in a democracy since Watergate - the felling of a criminal Prime Minister.
Israels Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is on the verge of indictment for fraud and breach of trust. Chief police investigator Sando Mazor recommended that Netanyahu, along with Justice Minister Zachi HaNegbi, MK Ariya Deri, and the PMs Chief of Staff Avigdor Lieberman be indicted and tried for deals leading to the Bar-On appointment as State Attorney General.
The police recommendations and the LEAKING OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS represent the most colossal act of injustice since the Kahn Commission investigating Sabra and Shatila forced Arik Sharon from the Ministry of Defense during the Begin administration.
My guess is that Netanyahu will be indicted, thus leaving him almost no choice but to evacuate his office.
Why will he be indicted? Did he do anything wrong?
Find me any prime minister, president, or head of state whose hands are clean. Netanyahu is accused of making deals in return for the Bar-On appointment. More than likely, this is absolutely false. Netanyahu wasnt interested in Bar-On. His preference was attorney Dan Avi-Yizhak, the person named as the mysterious witness whose testimony is the only affidavit of any wrongdoing, as is printed in police recommendations. Netanyahu gutted Avi-Yitzhak less than 24 before the appointment of Bar-On because of disapproval of the PROSECUTORS OFFICE. (These are the same people who are now going to rely on Avi-Yitahaks testimony to indict Netanyahu!)
But, for the sake of argument, lets say that Netanyahu did make a deal. So what? What did Rabin-Peres do to push Oslo through the Knesset. What did Ariya Deri and Shas receive for their support? Millions and millions of dollars. Does anyone remember an MK named Alex Goldfarb? A total unknown, breakaway amateur politician who left Rafuls Tzomet party and voted for Oslo. His reward - a ministers Volvo. He was literally bribed for his vote - and did anyone investigate the crime?
Deals, legitimate or not, are part of government and politics. And worse than deals. Ancient history - it is a well known fact that in the 1950s Israeli immigrants were threatened, literally threatened if they did not vote for the incumbent Labor party and David ben Gurion.
There seems to be no argument that Roni Bar-On was an extremely poor choice for Attorney General, but is this the reason for criminal indictment? It must be fully understood - we are not just dealing with a criminal case. We are witnessing an attempt to politically assassinate the Prime Minister. This is Labors revenge for Yigal Amir.
Why is this political assassination? This morning former MK Ariel Lynn, an attorney and one of the people who wrote the law dealing with the structure of the Prime Ministers office, claimed on Israel radio that the Prime Minister cannot be simply indicted. He may not even be investigated before the Attorney General allows it. The prosecutors office reported, in reaction, that they were checking this allegation. The head of prosecution knows how to indict, but is unaware of the most fundamental Knesset law concerning the Prime Minister???
The Prime Minister was questioned once, for a few hours. He was not given any opportunity to respond to charges against him, propagated by the mysterious witness. Normally, in most criminal cases, a potential accused is accorded the right to deal with incriminations against him. No the more so when dealing with a legal head of state? But no, the police simply recommended indictment.
What are the implications of indictment of the Prime Minister? New elections, and more than likely, not only a new Prime Minister, but a Prime Minister of the opposing party. Netanyahus premature departure will be an almost insurmountable obstacle for the Likud to overcome. The result: a return to the policies so well known over the past four years, and very possibly, the literal suicide of the State of Israel.
Why should Sando Mazor and Edna Arbel execute such a scenario? Because, this is the Israeli lefts answer to Yigal Amir. They blame him for early elections, leading to Labors defeat. They consider Netanyahu to be an illegitimate Prime Minister. It makes no difference that Peres admitted knowing that a majority of Israelis opposed Oslo, as he was achieving it. It makes no difference that Netanyahu received 11% more of the Jewish votes than did Peres. It makes no difference that PERES decided to call for early elections. The Israeli left actually believes that the premeirship was stolen from them. And they want it back. The best way to do that is to kill Netanyahu. And that is exactly what they are doing. They are politically spilling his blood. Political assassination.
The two people making the decisions have the ability, based on their personal, political philosophy to change history. And why not? In their own eyes, and in the eyes of their political cronies, they are not only serving the nations best interests, but they are also taking revenge for Yitzhak Rabins death. For even if new State Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein nixes Chief Prosecutor Arbels recommendations to indict the PM, the case will undoubtedly go to the Supreme Court. We know exactly what the Supreme Court is made up of - we have too much experience with them. And the stain of the original police recommendation, unjustifiably leaked to the press, will leave an indelible stain that will make Netanyahus continued rule extremely difficult, if not totally impossible. This morning there are reports that Likud Ministers Limor Livnat and Dan Meridor are planning on resigning next week.
How should we view this episode. It is no secret that Netanyahu has come close to betraying all that he was elected to do. As a practicing, observant Jew, I believe that these events are no less than a curse brought on Netanyahu because of his abandonment of Hebron and his willingness to abandon other parts of Eretz Yisrael. He was put into office, and I use the word put because his victory was a literal miracle, in order to neutralize the previous regimes policies and change them, starting with Hebron. Netanyahu failed the test and now he is paying the price. There is, there really is a G-d in heaven.
All of that not withstanding, the current plot to overthrow the Netanyahu government is much more dangerous than Netanyahu. It is much more dangerous than Yigal Amir. For Amir was one person who took the law into his own hands, killing Rabin. That act has been condemned by everyone.
However, this attempt to assassinate Netanyahu is being initiated at the highest levels of government - not by a Yigal Amir but by people holding the most senior public offices in Israel. It is being supported by those who desire to replace Netanyahu. In other words, this is nothing less than an attempted coup. Perhaps Netanyahu should be replaced, but not this way. If this coup succeeds, we can literally kiss Israeli democracy goodbye. The results will be nothing less than cataclysmic. I hope and pray that we should witness the same kind of Divine Intervention that brought Netanyahu to office and is now punishing him, to save us from the hands of the real, true criminals, whose motives are far from pure.