It was Benjamin Netanyahu who modernized Israel. He managed to burst out as young Prime Minister after several years of bloody terrorism following the death agonies of the Oslo Accords. He was the one who imported the neoliberal thought to Israel from the United States after years of socialist hegemony. He stood firmly as Finance Minister and rescued the country’s economy after the old socialist economy failed to address the needs of the people it wished to help. He saved Israel from the Jihadist terrorism after the Disengagement Plan proved to be a fatal death trap to the country’s security. And he was brave enough to release the miserable Gilead Shalit from the nails of Hamas and to contain grave threats without launching deadly wars. That was, in a nutshell, the political career of Mr. Netanyahu. Now, it seems, this career is about to end.
It is about to end due to what the ancient Greek called ‘hubris’; not ‘hubris’ in the modern sense, namely a sin stemming from a sheer arrogance which ought to be punished, but a sin which means humiliating the other and hurting his or her rights. Mr. Netanyahu has been humiliating Israel’s citizens by his awful chutzpa to behave in what appears to be a criminal way in terms of breaking the law; he displayed a bad example as of how a leader should avoid even ‘marit ayin’ or mere appearance of criminal behavior; and, above all, he did everything in order to subordinate the public interest to his own private one.
Having said that, the Attorney General Mr. Mandelblit and the entire juridical system must consider the long, serious contribution of Mr. Netanyahu to the Israeli society and offer him a dignified way out of his crisis. In contrary to those who wish to see Mr. Netanyahu in jail, e.g. Mr. Eldad Yaniv and his bunch of fellow travelers, one must bestow the Prime Minister the credit for his lifetime service to the country and propose him a good deal: step out of your office and you won’t be indicted. Although it is crystal clear that the Prime Minister prefers to fight for his innocence in the court of law, he is well-deserved to be bailed out from his burning political plane.
Though it is not the time to summarize the career of Mr. Netanyahu, one must conclude that in Israel’s history, he will be remembered for what he did for the sake of the country, less for the cigars he was receiving from Mr. Milchan or for his talks with the publisher of Yedioth Ahronot, Mr. Moses. If Mr. Netanyahu, the son of a celebrated historian, cares for the way he would be recorded in the pages of Israel’s history, he should end his long service and let historians decide what was his role in shaping the destiny of the people of Israel. It is the job of history to decide who was Benjamin Netanyahu and what his legacy is, not the court or the police. However, the Prime Minister is far from absorbing the fact that he must go. It was the German philosopher G. W. Hegel who told once that the verdict of history is history itself. Those who think that they can ignore history, added Karl Marx, will soon find out that history won’t ignore them.