PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, visit the Tel Gezer archeological site on Friday..
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
This was not a November to remember for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In fact, sources close to him admitted that, if he could manage to forget the month ever happened, the prime minister, who has been suffering from the flu, would be a happier and healthier man.
Comparisons to Pharaoh would probably irk him even more. But the prime minister endured at least 10 plagues over the course of the past month.
The only plague Netanyahu and Pharaoh shared was, of course, fire. His handling of the situation can be debated. What matters most is that no one died, but homes were destroyed in dozens of fires across the country.
His own family has also been under fire this month. While Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, has been targeted by the media for two decades, this month their son, Yair, was put on a public stage that chances are he will never be able to leave.
The prime minister was especially bothered by Channel 10 journalist Raviv Drucker’s reports connecting Yair Netanyahu to non-Jewish Australian billionaire James Packer, who reportedly wants Israeli residency to use the country as a tax haven. Netanyahu responded by calling Drucker a pathetic gossip columnist with a political agenda.
At the beginning of the month, Netanyahu dared Channel 2 journalist Ilana Dayan to read his extremely long and critical response to her report about Sara’s influence in the Prime Minister’s Office. She read every word, which made him look like a bully.
Netanyahu’s statements attacking reporters on Facebook escalated this month to all-out war. He wrote that leftists in the press had decided to attack him and his family after realizing they cannot beat him at the ballot box.
That argument would make sense if the reports were only yellow journalism about his family. Drucker’s report about a controversial submarine deal allegedly influenced by Netanyahu’s lawyer and confidant David Shimron was too solid to dismiss and could still cause him serious problems.
The Public Broadcasting Corporation Netanyahu wants to close before it opens is still around and has already started causing him problems with reports before it has gone on air.
His coalition chairman, David Bitan, who was supposed to kill the Public Broadcasting Corporation by now, proved this week that he cannot even pass an outpost legalization bill that has a clear majority in the Knesset.
His former chief of staff, Gil Shefer, whom he adored, is now fighting a sexual harassment scandal that looks even worse, because he replaced chief of staff Natan Eshel, who was forced to quit over sexual harassment charges.
Shefer’s replacement, Ari Harow, has been questioned by police in a campaign fund-raising scandal.
The month ended unmercifully with Sara Netanyahu’s invitation to be questioned by police. The several hours of questioning she endured Thursday was a bad start to the new month of December.
In a month in which Israel was also attacked by ISIS for the first time, perhaps the only silver lining for Netanyahu was the victory of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But Trump might have marred that joy by expressing eagerness to solve the Middle East conflict to The New York Times.
At least Netanyahu now has to deal with outgoing US President Barack Obama for fewer than 50 more days. That could make January and the months that follow it much more memorable and positive for the prime minister.