Is Idit Silman 'the good girl' who fell for Netanyahu's trickery?

Analysis: Before her sudden resignation from the coalition, the religious MK was the target of a relentless barrage of insults from the same Opposition she is now joining, having struck a deal with Likud that lauded her for unrelenting stance

Itamar Eichner|
In one quick stroke, Idit Silman - the outgoing coalition whip who announced her resignation Wednesday morning - has turned into the darling of all those who oppose Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government.
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  • Shortly after her announcement, several Opposition members, including its leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his closest associates, praised Silman for her “brave decision," expressing their willingness to "welcome her with open arms".
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    עידית סילמן בנימין נתניהו
    עידית סילמן בנימין נתניהו
    Idit Silman, Opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Danny Shem Tov, Alex Kolomoisky)
    Before her sudden resignation, however, Silman was one of the most hated Knesset members in the coalition. This resulted in her being on the receiving end of a relentless barrage of insults and abuse from the same Opposition that she is now set to join, having struck a political deal with Netanyahu's Likud.
    Opposition members assumed, and in retrospect correctly, that Silman was the "weakest link" in the coalition, that she would be the first to resign given the opportunity.
    During her term as coalition whip, however, Opposition members continuously defamed and insulted her, sometimes in an almost blatantly chauvinistic manner.
    Yoav Kish from the Likud party called Silman a "liar," while Bezalel Smotrich from the Religious Zionist Party said her conduct was "impulsive, violent and ugly".
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    מאיר פרוש
    מאיר פרוש
    United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Meir Porush from United Torah Judaism faction, who was slammed by Silman for his conduct during one of the Knesset plenum’s sessions, called the then-Yamina MK a "little girl" who "does not deserve to call me to order”.
    Likud MK Miki Zohar, who was reprimanded by Silman for arriving late to the plenum meeting and disrupting it to ask where the vote stood, demanded the whip “answer him like a good girl”.
    Opposition members later made sure to call Silman a "girl" on other occasions as well.
    The opposition also encouraged hundreds of right-wing activists to demonstrate in front of Silman's private residence and sling countless insults in her direction, including “crook “ and “traitor”.
    The attacks continued on social media, which saw Silman's Twitter account hacked, and her image besmirched on Facebook by Likud-affiliated youths, who posted photos of her with the title "Idit Silman is a liar with a yarmulke".
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    הוועדה המסדרת להצעת החוק לבחירות ישירות
    הוועדה המסדרת להצעת החוק לבחירות ישירות
    Likud MK Miki Zohar
    (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
    Silman also received numerous private messages threatening her and her family. In one such message, an anonymous sender reportedly wished Silman that her child "would die in a terror attack".
    Last November, Silman said she was attacked by an unknown individual at a gas station in Modi'in. Netanyahu, on his part, claimed that Silman fabricated the story "with the aim of discrediting an entire public, the same public she lied to in order to get his votes for her job".
    Police eventually closed the case for lack of evidence, a fact that left doubts about Silman's credibility.
    After announcing her resignation from the coalition, however, Netanyahu called Silman "a true public representative who acts according to the dictates of her conscience”.
    Kish, who previously called her a liar, lauded Silman for her resignation "that will save Israel and preserve the only Jewish and democratic state in the world”.
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    פעילי ימין מחוץ לביתה של עידית סילמן
    פעילי ימין מחוץ לביתה של עידית סילמן
    Right-wing activists outside Idit Silman's home, after her resignation
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    Smotrich called her retirement a "brave and just step," while Zohar said Silman "made a mature and important move".
    Silman, for her part, claimed that during her tenure she had been subjected to constant threats and harassment.
    "I drove to Jerusalem from my house, and a car was after me the whole way. They shouted at me from the car with a megaphone until I reached the entrance to Jerusalem,” Silman said.
    She further claimed that her son told her that a vehicle stopped next to him, and a person inside the vehicle told him "your mother is the devil”.
    “In the end, I was given 24-hour security. This is something that is difficult to get used to,” said Silman, adding that "I had difficult moments, but the harassment did not frighten or weaken me”.
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