A lot of evidence on what is taking place in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau was presented Monday evening by journalist Ilana Dayan on her investigative television program “Uvda.” Some of the evidence is already known, some is new, but none of it made our jaws drop. We have heard, read and published similar things, and even worse, in the past.
But nothing can be compared to the shock we felt when Dayan, for nearly six minutes, read out the response issued by the Prime Minister’s Office to the program we had just watched, which included testimonies from former employees who bravely faced the cameras, speaking sincerely and eloquently, often with tears in their eyes and in a trembling voice.
After the prime minister’s response was presented to us, it seemed that everything we had seen until that very moment was unnecessary. The response proved in an exemplary manner what has already been said for many months, both in this column and in other places—namely, that the State of Israel is being run by a paranoid man who is haunted by fears and seized with madness, and whose discretion these days is questionable.
His attack on a highly regarded media personality, who does her job professionally and with decency, while failing to address a single thing that was raised in the program but only blatantly slamming the messenger, is a microcosm of Netanyahu’s relationship with the entire media, and serves as evidence that the State of Israel has been taken hostage by a prime minister who is influenced by other forces. On Monday evening, Ilana Dayan joined a long list of journalists who dared to do their job, thereby becoming an enemy of Israel.
I have an assumption that the response read by Dayan, a response that even the word “crazy” is not enough to describe, involved Sara Netanyahu, as well. One could almost hear the voice of the prime minister’s wife hurling those accusations at Dayan, just like she screamed at Vered Swid, the director of the Authority of the Advancement of Women, who testified about it in the program in heartbreaking honesty, or at a prime minister’s residence employee who forgot to wish her good night or bought a milk bag rather than a carton.
It seems that after reading the response, there is nothing left to add. The words speak for themselves. It’s not Dayan, but the prime minister, in his response, who tightened the rope around his neck and kicked the chair. He singlehandedly proved the claims against him. But there is one important thing to say: Netanyahu can stop asking us to leave his wife, the compassionate child psychologist, alone and focus on him.
The prime minister’s artificial and weary plea becomes increasingly ridiculous as the testimonies on her involvement grow. On Monday, it was once again proved by the prime minister’s closest former aides, like Uzi Arad and Yoaz Hendel, that the prime minister’s wife is behind many of his decisions, including high-ranking appointments and being present in classified meetings.
In her program, Dayan did what should have been done a long time ago by people who have witnessed what is going on around the prime minister. Ministers, Knesset members, advisors, assistants—anyone with the slightest sense of responsibility should have stood up a long time ago and testified about on what they have seen.
The fact that the number of those who have dared to speak can be counted on one hand is a first-class badge of shame. It’s a disgrace that the people we trust are first of all watching out for themselves and their jobs.
The issues raised in Dayan’s program Monday evening, including the response of the Prime Minister’s Office, call for an urgent discussion. We can no longer hold back due to claims of persecution. Just like we demand to know the physical state of the most important person in the country, we should also demand an opinion on his mental state—and on the mental state of those surrounding him.