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Photo: Shaul Golan
Mr. Prime Minister, we are not against you, we are for Israel
Op-ed: You have achieved many things, Netanyahu, and you and Israel can be very proud of them, but stop attacking the media, for we cannot ignore the details emerging on a series of scandals in which you are implicated. Do not allow your long period of power to turn you into a cynic. People on the Right are also asking many questions about your integrity.
Mr. Prime Minister. I have a surprise for you. You have just claims. You have achievements. They are absolutely a cause for pride, not only for you but for every Israeli. I listened intently to the things you said on Wednesday at your support rally. I read them once again. Here is another surprise for you: In the last few years, I myself have written some of the things you said. We have a wonderful country. Sometimes, in the heat of the argument, there are those among us who forget that. But it mustn't be forgotten.

 

 

You mentioned other things about the state, about its wonders and achievements. This is all correct. But, Mr. Prime Minister, Israel belongs among the democratic nations. In France, the media doesn’t speak about the magnificent products of the vineyards, nor about nuclear energy, because the role of the media in a democratic society is to expose wrongdoings and not simply to present the achievements of the country’s leadership.

 

It is true Israel is not an isolated state. You are correct. But who was the person responsible in recent months for causing a massive rift between Israel and American Jewry, which is a strategic asset for Israel? Who canceled the Kotel compromise deal—approved by the current government—which was a slap in the face to American Jewry? And who was it who returned Jewish conversions to the Orthodox monopoly, despite the fact the majority of Orthodox rabbis, both in Israel and in the world, exploded with rage?

 

PM Netanyahu (Photo: Shaul Golan)
PM Netanyahu (Photo: Shaul Golan)
 

It was you, Mr. Prime Minister. What did you want? Did you want us not to write about it? Did you want us to ignore it?

 

The corruption investigations are bothersome to you. This is your second meeting with your supporters in less than a month, in which you launched into the media. I work with those people in the media, and I imagine I'm not part of a minority when I say I pray three times a day hoping you will emerge from this with your hands clean.

 

But a few things have taken place recently that raise serious questions. When one of your attorneys is personally involved in a submarine deal, and a second attorney—maybe, just maybe—of yours is involved in the submarine deal as a state representative, and the two attorneys share the same office, what exactly do you want? Do you want us to ignore it? To remain quiet? Not to look into it? Do you want us to betray the integrity of our work and abandon our roles?

 

It's true, sometimes pointing the finger is a little exaggerated. Sometimes it turns out the details reported were not the most accurate. That is all true. But the media is not a court. It does not carry out its work based on laws and evidence. Rather, it documents what has already come to light and what is already known.

 

Contrary to what you claim, the media did not make concessions for former prime minister Olmert. He became a wreck with the aid of the media even though many journalists were very fond of him. He was never granted any exemptions or privileges.

 

It suits you, Mr. Prime Minister, to speak about Meni Naftali. It could be you also have good arguments. But he is only a small part of the story. He is a tiny part of the story in fact. Did you, or did you not, receive presents worth hundreds of thousands of shekels? Does that seem right in your opinion?

 

Meni Naftali (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Meni Naftali (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

Can you really compare Olmert’s hobby of collecting pens to the hobby of collecting expensive cigars and all the other gifts you accepted? You know where Olmert ended up, so your comparison can hit you back like a boomerang. You lose in this comparison.

 

Allow me to put befor you, Mr. Prime Minister, a serious suggestion. Leave the media alone. Despite what you think, it isn’t the enemy. It is bothersome, it is irritating but it is not the enemy. Do some introspection and maybe you will see, just maybe, that your behavior has become cynical?

 

It is not a matter of Left and Right, as you want us to think. Your accepting of gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, your cancelation of the Kotel agreement, your granting of the monopoly over Jewish conversions to the Haredim are issues that you created against national interests. It is your long period in power that has turned you into a cynic.

 

Don’t be overly impressed or encouraged by wild applause or a show of support. There are tens and hundreds of thousands of citizens who are not of the leftist persuasion who look at you with lots of questions. They are struggling to understand your behavior, that again and again raises questions.

 

You have made achievements, Mr. Netanyahu. But you are the one who, too many times, personally harms the national interests. We are not against you Mr. Netanyahu. We are for Israel.

 

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