ישיבת ממשלה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AP

The right-wing's moral duty

Opinion: Even if Netanyahu's continued reign as prime minister is by the book, it still smells to the heavens, and it beggars belief that that out of the 55 MKs aligned with him, not one feels it proper to voice even the smallest hint of criticism against him as he puts his own interests above those of the state

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 02.19.20 , 23:55
It was obvious from the start that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criminal investigations would lead to an indictment and the date of the trial has finally been set.
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  • On March 17, for the first time in Israel's 71 years of existence, a reigning prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the man tasked with defending and leading the country, will also defend himself against that same country that accuses him of criminal activity.
    (Credit: Yotam Fishbein)
    Now is not the time for celebrations. Just as the trials of former President Moshe Katsav and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were no reason to celebrate either.
    The rule of law has won but it is a rather problematic victory when most of the public perceives the justice system as a band of oligarchs, a perception that has hampered its ability to replace those in power, at least until a final verdict is handed down.
    Two conflicting situations stand before us – in a rare scenario where both are justified.
    On the one hand, the law does not bestow upon the juror the right to replace those in power.
    On the other hand, it's completely unacceptable that a prime minister remains in power despite being indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
    There are two kinds of judgment at play here: a legal one and a moral one.
    ישיבת ממשלהישיבת ממשלה
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: AP)
    From a legal standpoint, Netanyahu stands trial and remains in power thanks to the rule of law. One cannot accept specific parts of that law and ignore others that are not to one's liking.
    But alongside this judicial decision, a moral and public one must also be made.
    Even Netanyahu's allies within the right-wing bloc know that his continued tenure, even if kosher, still stinks. They know that there is no judicial cabal looking to overthrow him and no "deep-state" going after him, notwithstanding all the fair criticism of the judiciary.
    They know that in recent years, Netanyahu has done away with the national interest in favor of his personal needs.
    For goodness sake, is there not one person among the right-wing bloc's 55 MKs who can voice a much-needed moral judgment and come out against Netanyahu's stranglehold over the state?
    And in this instance, the problem is not Netanyahu, but his horde of followers.
    הפגנה ליכוד הפגנת ימין נגד מערכת המשפט בעד בנימין נתניהו ב כיכר הבימה תל אביב הפגנה ליכוד הפגנת ימין נגד מערכת המשפט בעד בנימין נתניהו ב כיכר הבימה תל אביב
    A support rally in Tel Aviv after Netanyahu's indictments were announced
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    They will not stay silent or be ashamed of their prime minister's criminal charges, but rather compete with one another for his favor, sparring over who badmouths Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit the most or who is the most loyal to the leader.
    Netanyahu would do us all a favor if he quit and let his party elect a replacement to run his course, but that won't happen.
    All that remains is to wait for a right-wing politician who will stand up and say: "Enough!"
    If it doesn't happen before the elections, let us hope at least it does after.
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