When Yitzhak and Leah Rabin’s dollar account in Washington was exposed, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin immediately resigned. That won’t happen with Sara Netanyahu’s meals affair. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t resign. It’s unthinkable for him to resign. It just goes to show not only have the prime ministers changed in the past 40 years, so have Israelis’ expectations from their leaders.
The draft indictment against Sara Netanyahu evokes mixed emotions. It describes, on the one hand, a systematic theft of state funds and a conspiracy between the prime minister’s wife and a senior government employee to deceive the state. That’s unforgivable. On the other hand, it’s all broken down into small, miserable, childish thefts, which have to do with mental issues just as much as they have to do with criminal issues.
I assume both sides won’t adopt the opinion expressed here. Nevertheless, I believe this nasty affair should be treated in a less sensational and much more sensible manner. The attorney general should turn to the Netanyahus publicly and suggest they reach a reasonable financial agreement to end the affair. Several times in the past, after their lawyer rushed to issue aggressive statements, the couple found a financial way to escape their problems. The hand that currently finds it difficult to reach the wallet could go a long way once it encounters the fear of another state witness who, intimidated by the smell of Lysol in prison, decides to open his mouth.
The decision to create a distinction between Sara Netanyahu and her husband, to indict her without even mentioning him, is even more amazing. This appears to be a consistent policy adopted by the State Attorney’s Office: When it comes to housework, the husband has no responsibility. He didn’t see, he didn’t know. The entire blame is placed on the woman. Former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein didn’t notice the illegal worker cleaning his home, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak didn’t notice the maid.
The State Attorney’s Office has quite a few strong-minded women who believe in gender equality, yet the blame is exclusively placed on the women. The women are crooks. The men are innocent. Netanyahu didn’t know about his cousins and lawyers who were expected to make a considerable profit from his decisions in the submarine affair, he didn’t know where the gourmet meals that suddenly landed on his table came from, but he did know every detail about his former housekeeper, Meni Naftali. It’s not just groundless, it’s unintelligent.
If there’s any political meaning in the indictment against Sara Netanyahu, it’s the exact opposite of what the couple’s critics seek to achieve. It allows both of them to keep inflaming the feeling among the right-wing public that they are victims. The victimization work exists not only in Netanyahu’s base in the Likud party, but also among many voters of the Bayit Yehudi, Shas, Kulanu and Yesh Atid parties. The victimization is pretension, it’s fake news. Nevertheless, many believe in it. The couple believes in it too. It’s the secret of their persuasion power.