Reality Check: The draft of the speech we’re all waiting to hear

‘The great Israeli public does not deserve a third election in less than a year. I therefore announce my resignation as prime minister and leader of the Likud’

WHAT HE should say? (photo credit: REUTERS)
WHAT HE should say?
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Citizens of Israel.
As the country’s longest-serving prime minister – not that personal records or matters of status are of any importance to me or my family [Sara: You OK with this? Would you prefer “first lady” here?] – it has been my privilege to continuously serve you for the past decade as your leader. Without wishing to sound immodest, this period of time, and that of my first tenure as prime minister, have been beacons of prosperity and security for this country.
When I first became prime minister toward the end of the last century, my administration succeeded in stamping out the Hamas suicide bombings in the heart of our cities that the Oslo Accords had unleashed. [Should I mention this? I also signed the Wye Agreement with Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat and transferred a small percentage of Israeli-controlled land to Palestinian control, but then, it was a long time ago and who remembers? Just don’t tell Yair. He’ll have nightmares if he sees the photos of me with Arafat.]
After returning to power in 2009, it fell to my new government to restore the IDF’s deterrence factor in the eyes of the enemy following the perceived failure of the Second Lebanon War under then-prime minister Ehud Olmert. [Must skate over the reasons that led to Olmert’s resignation, particularly my argument then that “a prime minister who is neck-deep in investigations has no public or moral mandate to make crucial decisions.”]
A decade ago, I pledged to destroy Hamas, and only a few weeks ago, right on the verge of the elections, I was finally ready to unleash the military force that would have accomplished this goal. Unfortunately, a junta of weak-kneed generals and a legally pedantic attorney-general stopped me in my tracks. Their argument was that such retaliation in return for my having been forced to seek shelter during a rocket attack that disrupted an election event in Ashdod would be viewed as disproportionate.
I shouldn’t have listened to them. Worst-case scenario: the elections would have been postponed, which, given the final outcome, would actually have been a positive result as far as I’m concerned. [Perhaps this section on the Hamas should go? Yair: What do you think? Am I being too restrained on my attack on the security leadership and attorney-general?]
But I digress. Let’s get back to my many achievements. I can proudly state something that none of my predecessors can lay claim to: Under my leadership, the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The importance [Perhaps best to say “symbolic importance” here? After all, nothing has really changed since the announcement, it hasn’t made an iota of difference to anybody’s lives] of this declaration cannot be denied; it showed clearly the depths of my friendship with US President Donald Trump.
This friendship was further cemented with Washington’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights, which, purely by chance, was announced just before last April’s elections. Funnily enough, in another of those coincidences that are rooted in deep friendship, Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged the return of missing IDF soldier Zachary Baumel’s remains just before the April elections, too.
[important note: Don’t show the following part of the speech to Sara or Yair]
But friendships between political leaders are built on national interests and a sense of who really holds power. Following the April elections and, despite these generous gifts, I failed to establish a narrow right-wing government. There went my plans of passing all the necessary legislation to ensure I could forget about my indictments. Not surprisingly, my image as an all-powerful leader took a hit. I mean, can you imagine either Donald or Vladimir ever having to deal with such petty issues?
The truth is, they saw my standing diminished. This time around, Vladimir kept me waiting for over three hours in Moscow before seeing me – his part in the anti-Avigdor Liberman campaign, which didn’t even pay off – while Donald refused to take my calls during the G7 Biarritz summit and then went and sacked John Bolton.
Now, following this second election defeat – yes, we need to be honest: coming second to a party led by the uncharismatic Benny Gantz is a defeat. My only real achievement in these elections was to boost the Arab turnout.
While many of you see me as a self-centered, arrogant figure, determined only not to end up behind bars in Ma’asiyahu Prison, I do put the good of the country and its citizens first. I know that I am the stumbling block to the creation of a national unity government, and that if I stand aside, the Likud and Blue and White Party will be able to form a coalition government within days.
You, the great Israeli public, do not deserve another round of futile coalition negotiations, only to be followed by a third election in the space of one year. The country deserves better. I therefore announce my resignation as prime minister and leader of the Likud.
The only thing I ask is that whoever forms the next government keeps that turncoat Liberman in the opposition.
The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.