COVID-19 vaccine: Netanyahu takes credit where it's not due - opinion

Life has become a theater. In a regular theater there’s a main star, a director, a set designer and a troupe full of actors. Like with crime families.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein meet a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at Ben-Gurion Airport on January 10. (photo credit: MOTTI MILLROD/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein meet a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at Ben-Gurion Airport on January 10.
What do we actually know about the coronavirus vaccines, how they were purchased, how they were transported to Israel, how much we paid for them and how many doses we actually have? Who coordinated and organized all of these arrangements from start to finish?
The answer to these questions is, in short: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He initiated the research at Pfizer, Moderna and Ness Ziona, as well as the Russian vaccine. In Russia, however, an equally talented and skilled scientist stood before him: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Naturally, these questions are purely rhetorical. Netanyahu did not contribute anything to the development of these vaccines – not the process that enabled Pfizer and Moderna to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, nor the system for administering the vaccines to Israeli citizens.
Netanyahu did not assess the chances of developing a vaccine at the very beginning of the research and development and therefore did not take steps to reserve Israel’s rights to be supplied with doses and as a result, Israel had to pay double what other countries paid. Nothing that he did regarding the coronavirus has functioned properly. Everything he became involved in failed. At the beginning of the pandemic, the State of Israel was not prepared in any way. We didn’t have the necessary means or equipment to handle the outbreak, including medicine or ventilators. Our storerooms were empty.
The person who oversees the commander-in-chief and who wants everyone to recognize how his quality of work should at least be expected to ask the health minister if the country is prepared in case a pandemic reaches our shores. But Netanyahu was never interested in these details. They were beneath his pay grade. While he was busy saving humanity from annihilation at the hands of a nuclear Iran, behind his back a supposed coup d’état was being organized by the attorney-general, the state prosecutor’s office, the police commissioner and perhaps even the judges, all of whom wanted to oust him from office. Did he have time to look into whether the State of Israel was prepared to deal with the initial assessments and handle the pandemic?
Back in January 2020, the Health Ministry did not begin getting prepared, did not check which equipment they had in stock and did not purchase the necessary items that were missing. The virus quickly began spreading quicker than our health experts (and their prime minister who sat above them) had anticipated. By the time we got organized, began purchasing the necessary equipment and formulating a strategy for dealing with the pandemic, the death toll was rising and the number of people who had been diagnosed with the disease were making headlines.
From that point on, things have only gotten worse. Nothing worked properly except for Netanyahu’s evening performances on the television. Three different TV channels bowed deeply before His Majesty. The prime minister’s lengthy pre-performance make-up sessions lasted longer than the time he spent managing the country’s important affairs. Only after his hair came out the most perfect purple tinge would Netanyahu enter the stage for his nightly coronavirus theater. The people of Israel entered into a deep depression, fearing that a million Israelis would become sick and tens of thousands of us would die within weeks, as Netanyahu predicted. Slowly, his celebrity as the savior dissipated and the people’s eyes would tear up with excitement after witnessing his acts of heroism and sacrifice and hearing about how he was going to save us all.
But as soon as the curtain came down, it became crystal clear that the prime minister had actually been busy taking care of another issue: himself. The only things he really cares about are his trial, the election and eliminating any and all political rivals. When the time comes, he’s even willing to get rid of his partners, all so he can get back to the essentials – managing his delusional wife and deranged son in the private cockpit on Balfour Street.
This is the most difficult cabinet to manage, since all its decisions are made according to the majority, and the prime minister oftentimes finds himself in the minority. The two lunatics who have locked themselves inside the house on Balfour Road instruct him in how to behave, and he is disciplined and obedient. A few months ago, when I wrote these words, I was awarded with severe criticism from Netanyahu’s supporters, and even from some of his opponents. Could it truly be, they asked, that the prime minister prefers taking care of himself over the good of the country?
Even to Netanyahu’s critics this statement seemed harsh, not to mention to the thugs in the Knesset and Likud branches around the country.
IT TURNS out that all of these suspicions have become diminished. Now, the people who up until now had been in the secret cockpit, who’d sat in the innermost rooms of the imperial family’s house and discussed with its people and its supporters about the management of our country can testify to the veracity of what we’ve all feared – that for years now Netanyahu has been busy with only thing: his and his family’s private affairs.
Many of the people who were truly close to the Netanyahus, who were allowed almost all the way inside the secret inner sanctum (but just almost, since no one except the wife and the son are allowed all the way in. For a short time, some of them were given immediate but temporary access. No one is really a true friend or is ever given full access to the inner sanctum). These people who got as close as possible speak about how painful it was to watch the prime minister erode and dissociate himself from all of the issues that are supposed to be a priority for a prime minister.
Life has become a theater. In a regular theater there’s a main star, a director, a set designer and a troupe full of actors. Like with crime families.
The family structure is almost identical at the home of His Majesty on Balfour Road. Here, however, there is only one actor, who also plays the role of director, set designer, producer and spokesman. And then there are his two sidekicks on either side of him. In the next layer, you’ll find his gang of aides, ministers, MKs, “journalists” (who are really spokesmen), robots and a few rich - but stupid – Jews whose billions of shekels have supported anarchy in the US, as well as the royal family on Balfour Road.
The current episode that we’re watching now is the Vaccine Theater. After failing in everything connected with the struggle to overcome the pandemic – and he was involved in every decision – Netanyahu has clung to the vaccines as if he was hanging on by a thread.
WE’VE BEEN given the impression that not only did Netanyahu create the vaccine himself, but that with his own hands he has been loading the doses into the boxes, loading them onto trucks with some of the other gang members and then put them on planes that flew them to us here in Israel. And then he was there on the tarmac to joyously welcome the boxes of vaccines at the airport. For the first time, the virus and the vaccine met each other as part of the Theater of the Absurd on the runway at Ben-Gurion Airport. As everything is collapsing around us, Netanyahu is asking us to stand up and applaud him for successfully bringing us the vaccines.
The country that has developed the most advanced technologies in the world, that is capable of successfully managing counter-terrorism systems all over the globe, that knows how to build advanced satellites and missiles, that can send a spacecraft to the moon and that has more Nobel Prize laureates in science per capita than many countries around the world is holding a reception ceremony for boxes of vaccines that were purchased at prices that were higher than any other country paid, and all thanks to the rogue charlatan who turned this move into the highlight of his achievements.
It is insulting, ridiculous and ludicrous. There were Israelis scientists at Pfizer and Moderna who worked to create the vaccines. These companies were in charge of the production of the vaccines. People working for the health funds and for the pharmaceutical companies worked together diligently to carry out the supply arrangements. Commercial companies received large payments, which came from our pockets, to transport these vaccines to us here in Israel.
The main point here is it was not the Israeli government that made these vaccines. And it’s time to declare that it was Israel’s public health funds that have been responsible for organizing, coordinating and actually giving us the vaccines in an extremely efficient and determined manner. None of this is connected to the crook on Balfour Road, except for his ridiculous attempt to take credit where it’s not due.
The writer was the 12th prime minister of Israel.