Did Netanyahu say he hoped the State of Israel would last 100 years? If that’s what he meant, that the state would keep a prime minister suspected of criminal offenses while its elected representatives ensure no one could touch him—I’m not sure we want the remaining years.
Up until Sunday, when we saw Coalition Chairman David Bitan storm the Israeli parliament in a bid to get the bill approved as soon as possible, things weren’t clear enough. It seemed like a lot of talk that would result in nothing. Now it’s clear: Netanyahu wants a tailor-made law immediately, and the coalition is required to support him.
We heard what Minister Ofir Akunis told the leaders of the coalition parties Sunday: “We give you everything and get nothing in return.” In other words, a tailor-made pro-Bibi law is a demand Likud is presenting to its partners as part of the political give and take.
There’s no shame left. Everything is being done in broad daylight, aggressively, in an unbridled manner and without even trying to pretend. We knew where things were headed, we saw the trend, but we didn’t understand how desperate and determined Netanyahu was to stop the investigations against him.
All of his preparation work—the attacks on the Supreme Court, on the State Attorney’s Office, on the police and on the media, the mass Likud rallies, the long trips abroad—was intended for the decisive moment, for the creation of a quick aggressive legislative move, which would end up becoming the Bibi law. A law that would determine all the investigations against him must be stopped immediately. And if the High Court intervenes and tries to overturn the law, he would get the Right to enact the override clause, which prevents the court from striking down Knesset laws. The Right, which has a personal interest in a law against the High Court, would gladly enact the override clause.
Hard to believe? Ask yourself why is Netanyahu so motivated to pass this law. Why is he so interested in it, if it supposedly won’t apply to his own investigations? It was enough to see the clash at the coalition heads’ meeting over a week’s delay in voting on the law to understand its direct connection to the prime minister’s affairs.
A bill passes a preliminary reading, and then, ahead of its first reading, clauses can be added and changed. Netanyahu's aim is to enact a law that would apply to his investigations retroactively—not to what will happen in the future, but to everything that has already happened. He will toss in a limitation on a prime minister to only two terms in office, to satisfy Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and provide them with an alibi to support the law.
But don’t be confused. It’s a joke. This restriction won’t actually apply to Netanyahu. Trust him and his Rottweilers. The prime minister has no interest and no time to pass the law and then move up the elections, which he denies he has any interest in. He has even given Kahlon his word that he would pass the 2019 budget.
It’s possible he knows what’s waiting in the interrogation rooms and must delay the investigations to prevent an upgrade of the suspicions from breach of trust to bribery following the new evidence collected. In such an event, the new law would protect him and stop any new investigations. Every day that goes by charges with new meaning his famous saying that “there’s nothing because there was nothing.”
What Netanyahu wants is quick legislation, with a retroactive “Bibi law” that would apply to him to and stop the investigations right away. And then he would remain in office for the next two years and run for prime minister again. That’s the deal, there’s no other deal, and that’s where the political system is headed. And if no one puts his finger in the dike and ward off the muddy waves led by Amsalem and Bitan, it will happen. The plan exists. The question is will it work. Pressure makes people do bad things, and pressure is what Netanyahu's emissaries are conveying.
Let’s hope the commissioner and the police don’t cave, that the State Attorney’s Office and the attorney general examine the evidence according to the letter of the law, that the public realizes Netanyahu is acting like a guilty person and trying to halt a personal investigation, that the coalition refuses to take part in this move and that the Likud party doesn’t opt for mass suicide against all the state’s authorities for Netanyahu's sake.
And it depends on the Israeli public as well, on when will it open its eyes and realize what’s taking shape under its nose, and on how willing is it to be a partner in crime.