Photo: Reuters
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu
Photo: Reuters
Sima Kadmon

Netanyahu is right: He's the problem, not his wife

Op-ed: The prime minister's private life is the furthest thing from normative, however much he may dissemble, and there is no way his public life isn't affected.

Don't attack my wife; attack me – that's Benjamin Netanyahu's request every time another crazy affair involving the prime minister's wife comes to light. I believe the prime minister's gentlemanly request deserves compliance.


He's right. Our problem is with him, not her – because if Netanyahu is aware of the problem he has at home and is letting it slide, he's the one who should be held accountable.



He's the man who was chosen to occupy the Prime Minister's Bureau, and he's the one responsible for, among other things, the financial, moral and normative functioning of the official residence – even if it often appears to us that she is the one who is governing us when she decides who will be ministers or who will be the president, the state comptroller or the attorney general, when she vets the candidates and even wants to participate in confidential discussions.


One really does need to be Ofir Akunis or Yuval Steinitz in order to be blind to the goings-on at the strange house on Balfour Street, where flowers, candles, ice-cream and alcohol cost hundreds of thousands of shekels a year – a house where dirty clothes are packed into suitcases so they can be sent for dry cleaning at luxury hotels abroad, where the new furniture for the Prime Minister's Residence is replaced by old furniture from the couple's private home in Caesarea.


And we haven't said a word yet about the water bills, the double-billing of travel expenses, the demand for a bed on a flight to London, the hedonism and, primarily, the sickening miserliness, which makes even Molière's Harpagon appear magnanimous and generous.


But is there anyone (aside from Akunis and Steinitz) who really believes that Netanyahu can live in such a cuckoo's nest and not see a thing? Does anyone believe that he is unaware of his wife's mistreatment of staff, her summoning of a worker from home simply to warm up some soup for her in the middle of the night, her recalling to the residence of another staff member who failed to wish her good night, her phone calls to staff at crazy hours to demand fresh bags of milk for the morning?


After all, Netanyahu is right there, by her side. He's already known to have taken the phone from her hand to advise a staff member on the other end of the line to follow the lady's instructions. He's there to witness the fits of rage, the moods, the shouting, the whims, the endless demands. He's there for the cleaning frenzies, the obsessions, the paranoia. Were he not our prime minister, we'd surely take pity on him – because it would be impossible not to. But we don't, simply don't, have that privilege.


During all the years in which we have been exposed to this madness, Netanyahu has managed to deflect the blame onto the media – as if the media have been responsible for inventing all these stories in an effort to topple him. So allow me to assure you, first of all, that there isn't a journalist out there who is capable of making up the kind of stories to which we have been exposed.


This is a classic case of reality being stranger than fiction. And besides, it's just the tip of the iceberg.


Countless more stories, no less chilling than the ones already out there, await at the various news desks and in reporters' notebooks, and all testify to the fact that we are being held hostage by a man under the influence – our prime minister, whose private life is the furthest thing from a normative one; and there is no way, simply no way, that his public life isn't affected by it.


But demanding the prime minister's resignation is like trying to uproot a ficus tree with a teaspoon.


There are two possibilities, Mr. Prime Minister: Either you are too weak and are simply unable to cope with your wife's condition; and if this is indeed the case, how can we count on you to cope with problems such as the Iranian nuclear program or Israel-US relations, which may not be as acute as those of the lady, but are certainly serious enough.


Or you are party to her actions, as suggested in the latest reports about the so-called Bibi Tours scandal or recycled-bottles affair, along with who knows how many others that have yet to come to light.


So there you go, Mr. Prime Minister; we've attacked you and not your wife. Now it's time for you to decide who you are – a weak, spineless individual, or an accomplice to a crime.


פרסום ראשון: 02.02.15, 14:32
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