אריבאל זילבר בהפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
Protesters at Tuesday's rally for Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Protester at Tuesday's rally for Benjamin Netanyhu in Tel Aviv

The Bibiniks are coming

Opinion: While emotions and determination were high at Tuesday night's pro-Netanyahu, anti-indictment rally, those on both sides of the political map who fear civil war can rest easy

Nahum Barnea |
Published: 11.27.19 , 21:16
There was nothing absurd or fake about the people who flocked to the plaza at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Tuesday night for the rally in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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  • Excluding the fact that most arrived by buses, just like at the Labor party rallies of days gone by, they came from the West Bank settlements, from the center and no one forced them to come.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Protester at Tuesday's rally for Benjamin Netanyhu in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi )
    They have love and admiration for their leader, their god. They share the belief that the state couldn't continue existing without him. They felt rage and sorrow – several woman painted their shirts with a slogan so hauntingly familiar to the Israeli left: "I've lost my country".
    And they had faith that a massive conspiracy born somewhere within the dark corners of the left had merged with an even darker conspiracy by the Israeli media, both set to destroy and trample the institutions of law in Israel.
    We stood in the same plaza, breathed the same air, spoke the same language, despite the great divide between us.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Protesters at the Tuesday rally for Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi )
    I don't know which one of us is delusional, but what is certain is that their delusions are totally different. The facts they believe in and the world they see is a different world.
    Signs were held aloft describing the Attorney General Avichai Mendalblit as a crook who should turn a state witness, and the State Prosecution as a corruption nest and a criminal organization.
    "The people demand legal justice," roared the crowd.
    Up to 5,000 people showed up, making for a very diverse crowd.
    There were plenty of religious Zionists rubbing shoulders with secular residents from Tel Aviv; young women and old men.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    A protester at Tuesday's rally
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    "Write this down, I'm from Tel Aviv," said a young woman named Shira who was holding a sign lambasting the State Prosecution.
    "I was born and raised in Tel Aviv," she said.
    Four common denominators could be found among all those who attended: a love for Bibi (Netanyahu's moniker), right-winged, a sense of victimhood and hatred towards the media.
    They're not exactly Likudniks: some of them vote for other right-wing parties. They are Bibiniks.
    Netanyahu, it is important to note, is not a Bibinik. He is not like them, just as Donald Trump isn't really like his supporters.
    One of the protesters I spoke to said he had to cut the conversation short because he had to update his friends on Facebook.
    On the day of the rally, I wrote about how fascinating it would be to see who arrived, how and from where.
    הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו הפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Protesters holding a sign saying 'Netanyahu, the people are with you'
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Those who feared Tuesday's rally can calm down, both from those on the right and the left who foresaw civil war.
    The number of attendees is a nice achievement, but far from impressive.
    Despite the buzz in the media and on social networks, the masses did not flock to the banner.
    Polls show that a large chunk is still voting for Netanyahu, but for now, the people remain at homes.
    Ayoob Kara, a deposed Likud minister, was also in attendance, trying to overcome his humiliation with a bit of mingling.
    מירי רגב בהפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו מירי רגב בהפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Likud Minister Miri Regev
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Likud minister Miri Regev and MK Miki Zohar both gave fiery speeches from the podium, but if you read between the lines, you can see those speeches as preparations for the day after Netanyahu.
    They didn't come to bash the prosecutors, only to fix the situation; not erase the indictment, but instead, come and show solidarity.
    "Forty years in power", yelled someone in the crowd, "and now you're remembering to fix this?"
    מיקי זוהר בהפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו מיקי זוהר בהפגנת תמיכה בעד בנימין נתניהו
    Likud MK Miki Zohar
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    "Bibi! Bibi! Bibi!", they all shouted. Over the years, the very word has become their call of victory. But on Tuesday night they shouted it in anger, in agony. And it wasn't the same.

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