How Netanyahu’s dream could come true - analysis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make his case across town at the Prime Minister’s Office to his aide-turned-ally-turned-bitter nemesis, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

By
October 3, 2019 01:45
2 minute read.
Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The attorneys who spent all day defending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit in Wednesday’s marathon hearing wasted their time, if Netanyahu’s dream comes true on Thursday morning.

While the lawyers continue their arguments at the Justice Ministry, Netanyahu will make his case across town at the Prime Minister’s Office to his aide-turned-ally-turned-bitter nemesis, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

After months of attacking each other in public and not speaking to one another, Netanyahu and Liberman will finally confront each other face to face. To be a fly in the room would be interesting but also extremely dangerous – the fumes between the two men could cause all life in the room to be extinguished.

Liberman himself downplayed the meeting on social media, moments after all three nightly newscasts reported that sources close to him said that nothing would come of it.

But Liberman is the most unpredictable figure in Israeli politics, and he has misled the public many times. Perhaps the meeting will go much better than expected.

This is the dream of Netanyahu, whose persuasive abilities cannot be understated, nor can his understanding of Liberman after working with him and against him for decades. Depending on how the hearing went, Netanyahu could also be desperate, which would give him all the more reason to ensure that his meeting with Liberman succeeds beyond anyone’s expectations.

Netanyahu could start by showing empathy to Liberman, reminding him that he overcame more than a decade of investigations and legal agony and emerged unscathed. Liberman is the model for politicians under investigation, because his hearing persuaded the attorney-general to close the most problematic case against him.

“Let’s stop fighting each other and join forces against our real enemies on Salah A-Din Street,” Netanyahu could say to Liberman, referring to the Justice Ministry.

Netanyahu could offer Liberman to become justice minister and carry out all the reforms in the legal system of which he has dreamed. A bulldozer like Liberman could make his predecessors in the role, Amir Ohana and Ayelet Shaked, look like legal pushovers.

In the meeting, the two men could decide how to handle the public relations of Liberman joining a coalition with Shas and United Torah Judaism despite his campaign promises to only enter a secular unity government. They will figure out how to trick the haredim and the public and get what they truly want.

Liberman could get power, respect and revenge. Netanyahu could even offer him a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office to sweeten the deal.

Netanyahu could get a rock-solid coalition of 63 right-wing MKs that could pass all the bills needed to keep him in power. Such a coalition could give him immunity from prosecution, pass the Supreme Court override bill, change the way judges are selected, and give the judges term limits.

If all those bills are passed, Netanyahu – who will turn 70 on October 21 – could govern for the rest of his life.

This dream is not all that unrealistic. After listening to Liberman and Netanyahu attack each other so fiercely during the campaign, who would have thought they could even meet at all?

All they have to do is put their hatred for each other aside and direct it at what they could see as a higher purpose: making their dreams come true.


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