PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennet.
(photo credit: SASSON TIRAM,REUTERS)
Wolves can smell their predators and their prey 1.75 miles away and can hear them as far as six miles away in the forest and 10 miles in the open.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains extremely powerful, with no real political challengers anywhere close enough for the average human to sense them.
But Netanyahu’s political senses are heightened, perhaps even wolf-like, and because of that, he is always taking precautionary political steps.
He saw that Israel Broadcasting Corporation director- general Eldad Koblentz was once appointed head of Educational Television by Netanyahu’s former No. 2 in the Likud, Gideon Sa’ar, and he took steps to shut it down.
Just Tuesday, the IBC hired Sa’ar’s wife, respected veteran anchor Geula Even.
Netanyahu already took steps to stifle the career path of Transportation Minister Israel Katz when he just appeared to be on the verge of presenting the slightest future challenge to his leadership in the Likud.
And when his former chief of staff, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, insisted on pushing forward a bill that would legalize unauthorized West Bank outposts, Netanyahu took pains not to publicly oppose it, despite knowing full well the world would condemn it and the High Court would deem it illegal.
It is questionable how seriously Netanyahu took Tuesday’s condemnation by the French.
But he takes the threat from Bennett very, very seriously.
From the many long hours Bennett spent in the prime minister’s company when he worked for him, he learned how to irk Netanyahu. He learned how to time each political announcement for maximum impact and when he could get away with flexing his political muscles.
Bennett learned to get away with defying Netanyahu and even mocking him, as evidenced by Sunday night’s vote on the bill in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. Bennett got his ally, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, to convene the committee, despite Netanyahu’s pleas to delay it.
That got Netanyahu even more agitated, setting up a potential political clash in the Knesset on Wednesday. Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich’s threat not to back the budget if the outpost bill is not passed is tantamount to Bennett daring Netanyahu to take a step that could lead toward elections.
Chances are Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon will find some kind of compromise to stop the bill from advancing and avoid embarrassment for Netanyahu in the international arena.
Despite the possibility the bill could achieve a majority, there was never a great chance it would be allowed to pass into law. But the international community played its part by condemning the bill. Bennett fulfilled his role by defending it.
And Netanyahu did what he did, because when it comes to ensuring his own political survival, he must take action.
With many potential future predators on the horizon, he could not afford to cry wolf.