Yossi Verter Prima prendono il Campidoglio, poi noi prendiamo la Knesset.

Traduzione sintesi 



1Non c'è una minima differenza tra i Trumpisti e i Bibi-isti .


Gli israeliani sani di mente che, mercoledì, hanno visto inorriditi i simboli della democrazia più forte e magnifica del mondo calpestati da una folla incitata e hanno visto il futuro davanti ai loro occhi increduli.
Un leader teppista e perdente sostiene che le elezioni siano state rubate ed esorta i suoi sostenitori a marciare verso l'edificio che ospita i rappresentanti eletti del popolo. Suo figlio suscita passioni con commenti del tipo: “If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you.”
Senatori e membri della Camera pronunciano discorsi slegati dalla realtà, aggiungendo benzina al fuoco che arde all'esterno. Un partito con un passato glorioso si è subordinato ai capricci del suo leader, ad eccezione di una manciata che osa esprimere una posizione indipendente e per questo viene criticata. I media ,in punta di piedi e tra inchini, echeggiano e pubblicizzano i messaggi falsi e infiammatori rivolti alle persone "molto speciali" che "amiamo" (Donald Trump).
In che modo siamo diversi da loro? Will Benjamin Netanyahu e le sue coorti si comporteranno in modo diverso se scoprono dopo il 23 marzo, che non hanno più il potere ? Lui e Trump, membri di una società di reciproca ammirazione, sono bugiardi e istigatori spudorati. Entrambi mancano di valori, norme e integrità minima. Disprezzano le trappole dello stato, lo stato di diritto. Disprezzano chiunque non obbedisca  a loro. Sorvegliano i loro rivali, danno vita a folli teorie del complotto e gestiscono un ambiente di lavoro  costituito  da miserabili yes-men che devono mentire in loro nome.

Non c'è una minima differenza tra i Trumpisti e i Bibi-isti . I sostenitori e gli ammiratori del primo ministro sono oggi il movimento più pericoloso in Israele. Più dei fedeli di Kahane, più dei teppisti dei territori (soprannominati romanticamente in neolingua "gioventù in cima alla collina"). I Bibi-isti molestano e attaccano manifestanti pacifici agli incroci, sui ponti e nella piazza di Gerusalemme. Lanciano maledizioni a una famiglia che ha perso suo figlio in guerra. Diffondono bugie e diffamazioni di sangue su investigatori e avvocati che hanno osato indagare su Netanyahu. Sono in agguato sui giudici e faranno tutto il necessario per cercare di ribaltare il verdetto degli elettori. Assalto alla Knesset? Entrare nella camera della Knesset? Assediare la Corte Suprema se la sentenza definitiva verrà emessa ? Qualunque cosa sia richiesta.
L'adorazione quasi religiosa mostrata per Trump (" Re Ciro ", si ricorderà) dal primo ministro israeliano insieme a tutti i tweeter di spazzatura, ai "giornalisti" e alle emittenti, ai pubblicisti che hanno commercializzato a noi tutte le bugie del presidente in modo così energico (anche questo giornale, purtroppo) non sorprende. Finché si era sistemato lì, alla Casa Bianca, con suo genero untuoso e dubbioso , Netanyahu si sentiva in cima al mondo. Era protetto.

Ironia della sorte, l'unica garanzia che questo scenario da incubo non verrà riprodotto qui è ora a Washington. La maggioranza Democratica, dopo il trauma che hanno vissuto il 6 gennaio, si farà in modo che la fine dell'era Netanyahu, il gemello di Donald Trump, si svolga in modo diverso.

2  POLITICHE MESCHINE  E CORONAVURUS

Non ci sono restrizioni, non ci sono restrizioni strette e non c'è blocco, parziale o totale, fino a quando il ministro della Torah, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, non trasmette la sua decisione halakhica . Kanievsky come metafora, ovviamente: metafora per la discriminazione prolungata e il maltrattamento dell'opinione pubblica laica, per la sua dipendenza politica dai partiti Haredi, per i suoi colossali errori nella gestione della crisi del coronavirus.
 
Non c'è stata una singola decisione del governo che non sia stata contaminata da politiche meschine. Abbiamo sentito l'ex capo del coronavirus, il prof. Ronni Gamzu, dare sfogo alla sua frustrazione e rabbia sul programma televisivo “Uvda”. Non passerà molto tempo prima di sentire il suo successore, il Prof. Nachman Ash, dire cose simili. Le prove del pasticcio che costano e stanno costando vite umane si stanno accumulando sul tavolo, e il capo pasticcione sta celebrando: il terzo blocco, che ridurrà i tassi di infezione e sarà etichettato come un "enorme successo".

Da ricordare : 1 L' importazione delle vaccinazioni ,che se non fosse stato per le organizzazioni sanitarie sarebbero rimaste nei congelatori.
2 I test a livello nazionale e il raggruppamento dei test non sono stati effettuati (perché quelle idee sono state proposte da Gideon Sa'ar ). L'idea di testare persone che volavano in Israele e di prendere altre misure non è stata adottata (perché suggerita da Naftali Bennett ).
3 I poteri non sono stati delegati in tempo ai sindaci, perché Netanyahu voleva avere il pieno controllo. Idem per il trasferimento di responsabilità all'Home Front Command - fino a quando non è intervenuto Benny Gantz

4 Il piano del "semaforo", l'applicazione selettiva in località ad alta incidenza, che sarebbe stato facile da fare in un piccolo paese come Israele, non è mai stato implementato perché i leader Haredi Yaakov Litzman e Arye Dery si sono scatenati. Ogni passo è stato fatto pietosamente in ritardo, a spese di migliaia di malati e morenti.
5 Gli insegnanti, soprattutto nel sistema di istruzione speciale, che devono presentarsi a scuola in ogni blocco, non sono stati vaccinati. C'erano centinaia di membri dello staff dell'ufficio del primo ministro . Con "dosi in eccesso", naturalmente.
Tra altri due mesi, giorni prima della fine della campagna elettorale, Netanyahu sta pianificando una serie di eventi dove dichiarerà che il virus è stato debellato. A quel punto, circa la metà dei cittadini israeliani sarà stata vaccinata. L'incidenza delle malattie diminuirà, l'economia mostrerà i primi segnali di ripresa. Coprirà i suoi fallimenti e gli errori, l'anarchia che ha presieduto e guidato, con una spessa coltre di frasi e celebrazioni vanagloriose.
I morti non potranno gridare, i malati gravi che si riprenderanno dagli effetti collaterali rimarranno in silenzio. Imprenditori a centinaia di migliaia sono falliti e hanno perso la loro autostima e in alcuni casi la loro famiglia, insieme a centinaia di migliaia di disoccupati i cui posti di lavoro sono stati chiusi per sempre,

ALLEANZE

Netanyahu sarebbe felice di inviare il suo tuttofare Natan Eshel da Yair Lapid e Ron Huldai per convincerli a unire le loro liste (Yesh Atid e The Israelis , rispettivamente). per due motivi:
1. Otterrebbe un forte rivale a sinistra, con più di 20 seggi, attorno al quale potrebbe costruire la campagna che non fallisce mai: destra contro sinistra, nazionalisti contro collaboratori, lealisti contro traditori.
2. Gli elettori di Kahol Lavan, di beata memoria, lascerebbero quel partito e appoggerebbero il candidato di sinistra, per rafforzarlo. Finché il quadro della Knesset rimarrà quello che è ora, queste due aspirazioni rimarranno insoddisfatte. Il governo, che sembrava essere nelle tasche del primo ministro di transizione, è lontano.
Al momento - e anche per il prossimo futuro - il successore di Netanyahu verrà da destra . Il candidato emergente, per ora, è Gideon Sa'ar (New Hope). Fino a circa un mese fa, quel titolo era detenuto da Naftali Bennett (Yamina). Il messia che estrometterà Bibi non verrà dalla sinistra.
"Il Likud non perderà più seggi a meno che la gente non creda che Sa'ar sia davvero in grado di formare un governo", dice una figura di alto livello. “Per questo, ha bisogno di un sostegno significativo da parte di coloro che hanno abbandonato Kahol Lavan. Se rimangono con lui, verso la fine della campagna arriverà anche il sano di mente. Se lo lasciano i Likudnik non verranno e quelli che rimangono con Bennett rimarranno con lui fino alla fine. In questa elezione la sinistra è l'asino del messia ".
I guai di Bennett con Bezalel Smotrich, il leader di una fazione dell'alleanza Yamina, stanno diventando più acuti. Smotrich, consapevole della sua forza da un lato e della debolezza di Bennett dall'altro, minaccia di correre in modo indipendente. . Non appena la lite sul numero dei suoi rappresentanti nei primi 10 posti della lista finirà, si metterà in fila in modo disciplinato , promettono i vertici di Yamina . Chiede quattro rappresentanti dei sindacati nazionali nei primi 10 della lista; Bennett è disposto a offrirgliene due. È davvero improbabile che finisca con tre? A condizione, ovviamente, che Bennett decida di correre insieme al messianico, razzista, ma non è riuscito a rinunciare a Smotrich e ai suoi simili quando avrebbe potuto farlo a suo tempo e non nel mezzo di una campagna elettorale. Adesso è bloccato.
I due accordi di voto che sono stati firmati questa settimana - tra New Hope e Yamina e tra Yesh Atid e Yisrael Beiteinu - potrebbero impedire a Netanyahu di raggiungere l'obiettivo di 61 seggi alla Knesset, per il quale ha lottato negli ultimi due anni attraverso quattro elezioni.Non ci sono sondaggi che prevedono 61 seggi per il blocco Netanyahu-Yamina-Haredi. Il massimo al momento è 57

Il capostipite dell'idea di s lasciare Netanyahu fuori è Yair Lapid. Si è avvicinato a Sa'ar ed è la seconda volta in un mese che Lapid e Sa'ar tessono una ragnatela aggrovigliata dietro la schiena di Netanyahu cogliendolo di sorpresa : Netanyahu ha telefonato con urgenza al leader dello Shas Arye Dery e lo ha implorato di firmare con il Likud. Dery ha rifiutato. Nella sua angoscia, Netanyahu si sta ora avvicinando agli elettori della popolazione araba di Israele, coloro che fino a ieri, e per anni, erano il bersaglio di aculei avvelenati, odio e incitamento oltre il limite.
First they take the Capitol, then we take the Knesset

  The sane Israelis who, on Wednesday, watched, appalled, as the symbols of the world’s strongest and most magnificent democracy were trampled underfoot by an incited mob, saw the future before their unbelieving eyes.


A losing hooligan of a leader who claims the election was stolen urges his supporters to march toward the building housing the people’s elected representatives. Ahead of him, his son whips up passions with remarks like, “If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you.” 

the building housing the people’s elected representatives. Ahead of him, his son whips up passions with 

His blundering, pathetic lawyer promises “trial by combat.” Senators and members of the House deliver speeches unmoored from reality, adding fuel to the fire burning outside. A party with a glorious past has subordinated itself to the whims of its leader, with the exception of a handful who dare to express an independent position and are excoriated for it. A toe-the-line, kowtowing media echoes and markets the false, inflammatory messages, to the “very special” people whom “we love” (Donald Trump).


How are we different from them? Will Benjamin Netanyahu and his cohorts behave differently if they discover after March 23 that they no longer hold power? He and Trump, members of a mutual admiration society, are shameless liars and instigators. Both lack values, norms and minimal integrity. They are contemptuous of the trappings of state, the rule of law, the gatekeepers. They despise anyone who doesn’t obey them. They surveil their rivals, ignite insane conspiracy theories and manage a low-skill work environment of pitiable yes-men who are required to lie in their name.


There isn’t an iota of difference between the Trumpists and the Bibi-ists. The supporters and admirers of the prime minister are today the most dangerous movement in Israel. More than the Kahane faithful, more than the thugs in the territories (dubbed romantically in newspeak as “hilltop youth”). The Bibi-ists harass and attack peaceful demonstrators at intersections, on bridges and in Jerusalem’s Paris Square. They hurl curses at a family that lost its son in war. They disseminate lies and blood libels about investigators and attorneys who dared to deal with Netanyahu. They are lurking in ambush for his judges and they will do everything required of them to try to overturn the voters’ verdict. Storm the Knesset? Break into the Knesset chamber? Besiege the Supreme Court if the final judgment will be handed down there? Whatever is required.


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COVID-19 exposed the fake king of the Haredim

The almost religious adoration shown for Trump (“King Cyrus,” it will be recalled) by Israel's prime minister along with all the tweeters of garbage, the “journalists” and the broadcasters, the publicists who marketed to us all the president’s lies so vigorously (in this newspaper, too, unfortunately) is not surprising. As long as he was ensconced there, in the White House, with his unctuous, dubious son-in-law, Netanyahu felt on top of the world. He was protected.


Open gallery view

A demonstration in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, near his residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, July 2020

A demonstration in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, near his residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, July 2020Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Ironically, the only guarantee that this nightmare scenario will not be played out here is now in Washington. In the White House of Joe Biden, the Democratic House of Nancy Pelosi and the Senate, now also with a Democratic majority. After the trauma they experienced on January 6, they will see to it that the end of the Netanyahu era, the twin of Donald Trump, will play out differently. In the Democrats we trust.


A plague of petty politics


There are no restrictions, there’s no tight restraint and there’s no lockdown, partial or full, until the Torah minister, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, hands down his halakhic decision. Kanievsky as a metaphor, of course: a metaphor for the prolonged discrimination and maltreatment of the secular public, for the prime minister’s personal and legal considerations, for his political dependence on the Haredi parties, for his colossal blunders in managing the coronavirus crisis.


There hasn’t been a single government decision that hasn’t been contaminated by petty politics. We heard the former coronavirus chief, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, giving vent to his frustration and anger on the “Uvda” investigative TV program. It won’t be long before we hear his successor, Prof. Nachman Ash, saying similar things. The evidence of the bungling that cost and is costing human lives is piling up on the table, and the chief bungler is celebrating: the third lockdown, which will reduce infection rates and be labeled a “tremendous success”; the importation of the vaccinations, which if not for the health maintenance organizations would have remained in the freezers; our situation as compared with some of the countries in Europe, which have dozens of land, air and sea entrances, whereas Israel has only one, which was neglected and ignored since the start of the crisis – again, because Netanyahu was considerate of the feelings of King Cyrus and feared his wrath.


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Countrywide testing and the pooling of tests weren’t done (because those ideas were proposed by Gideon Sa’ar). The idea of testing people flying to Israel and taking other measures wasn’t adopted (because it was suggested by Naftali Bennett). Powers were not delegated to the mayors in time, because Netanyahu wanted to have full control. Ditto for the transfer of responsibility to the Home Front Command – until Benny Gantz stepped in. The “traffic light” plan, selective enforcement in high-incidence localities, which would be easy to do in a small country like Israel, was never implemented, because Haredi leaders Yaakov Litzman and Arye Dery blustered. Every step was taken pitifully late, at the expense of thousands of sick and dying people.


Teachers, especially in the special education system, who have to report to school in every lockdown, were not vaccinated. Hundreds of staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office were. With “surplus doses,” naturally.


In another two months, days before the end of the election campaign, Netanyahu is planning a series of events in which he will declare that the virus has been eradicated. About half of Israel’s citizens will have been inoculated by then. The incidence of sickness will decrease, the economy will show initial signs of recovery. He will spill money like nobody’s business. He’ll cover his failures and blunders, the anarchy he presided over and led, with a thick blanket of boastful phrases and celebrations. The dead will not be able to cry out, the seriously ill who will recover from side effects will remain silent. Business owners by the hundreds of thousands who collapsed, went bankrupt and lost their self-esteem and in some cases their family, along with hundreds of thousands of jobless people whose places of work were shut for good, will go to the polls, and their vote will determine whether Netanyahu will manage the next crisis, too.


Donkey time


Netanyahu would be happy to dispatch his handyman Natan Eshel to Yair Lapid and Ron Huldai to persuade them to merge their slates (Yesh Atid and The Israelis, respectively). That would achieve two critical aims for him: 1. He would get a strong rival on the left, with 20 seats-plus-plus, around which he would build the campaign that never fails: right vs. left, nationalists vs. collaborators, loyalists vs. traitors. 2. The voters of Kahol Lavan, of blessed memory, would leave that party and flock to the left-wing candidate, to strengthen him. As long as the picture of the Knesset remains the way it is now, these two aspirations will remain unfulfilled. Rule, which seemed to be in the pocket of the transition prime minister, is far off.


At the moment – and for the foreseeable future, too – Netanyahu’s successor will come from the right side of the political divide. The emerging candidate, as of now, is Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope). Until his entry into the arena about a month ago, that title was held by Naftali Bennett (Yamina). The left is a no-show. The messiah who will oust Bibi won’t come from its ranks. But, as a senior figure on the right put it, the donkey will.


“Likud will not lose more seats unless people believe that Sa’ar is really able to form a government,” the senior figure says. “For that, he needs significant support from those who abandoned Kahol Lavan. If they stay with him, the sane right will also arrive toward the end of the campaign. If they leave him, the Likudniks won’t come, and those who still remain with Bennett will stay with him to the end. In this election, the left is the messiah’s donkey.” Its silver platter, too, you could say.


Open gallery view

Gideon Sa'ar and Naftali Bennett at the Knesset, 2013.

Gideon Sa'ar and Naftali Bennett at the Knesset, 2013.Credit: Oren Nachshson

Bennett’s woes with Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of a faction in the Yamina alliance, are becoming more acute. Smotrich, aware of his strength on the one hand and of Bennett’s weakness on the other, is threatening to run independently. He already has a slogan, a colorful ad and nasty comments about preferring Netanyahu as prime minister. As soon as the quarrel ends over the number of his representatives in the first 10 spots on the slate, he will toe the line of the campaign with full discipline, senior figures in Yamina promise. Like a tatteleh. He’s demanding four National Union representatives in the opening 10 of the slate; Bennett is willing to offer him two. Is it wildly improbable that it’ll end with three? Provided, of course, that Bennett makes a strategic decision: that running together with the messianic, racist, homophobic right is better for him than a split.


Bennett was smart and brave enough to forgo Haim Druckman and his ilk, political functionaries in the guise of duplicitous rabbis who played him like a puppet on a string, even as they themselves were played by Netanyahu. But he didn’t manage to forgo Smotrich and his kind when he could have done so in his own good time and not in the middle of an election campaign. Now he’s stuck.


The two surplus-vote agreements that were signed this week – between New Hope and Yamina and between Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu – didn’t get bold headlines. It’s just a technical matter. Procedure. But there’s more there than meets the eye. In a certain, not altogether far-fetched, scenario, this is what could prevent Netanyahu from reaching the goal of 61 Knesset seats, for which he’s been striving over the past two years across four elections. In politically paralyzed Israel, we’ve seen more than once that a lone seat is enough to enable or disable the formation of a government.


There’s no poll predicting 61 seats for the Netanyahu-Yamina-Haredi bloc. The maximum at present is 57. Historically, Likud signed surplus-vote agreements (which add a seat to one of the two signatories at the other’s expense) with the National Religious Party/Habayit Hayehudi/Hayamin Hehadash and other incarnations of that party. The agreements were always struck after the deadline for submitting slates, about a month and a half ahead of the election. Likud signs with the right wing, the Haredi parties with one another, the left among itself.


The progenitor of the idea to gamble and sign, and leave Netanyahu out in the rain, trembling, is Yair Lapid. He approached Sa’ar with the two-headed notion two weeks ago. Sa’ar was pleased. The other two partners also leaped at the opportunity. This is the second time in a month that Lapid and Sa’ar have woven a tangled web behind Netanyahu’s back that has caught him stunned and off-guard: in the Knesset vote on delaying the dissolution of the Knesset, the “night of the parking lots” (where lawmakers hid until the last second before coming in to vote), when Lapid and Sa’ar worked hard, in tandem with MK Asaf Zamir, and this week again.


The first time we left him without a government. The second time we left him without a surplus-vote agreement, Lapid noted. And maybe the third time we’ll leave him without the Audi 8.


Open gallery view

Yair Lapid in the Kahol Lavan campaign headquarters on the night of the March 2020 election results, Tel Aviv, March 3, 2020.

Yair Lapid in the Kahol Lavan campaign headquarters on the night of the March 2020 election results, Tel Aviv, March 3, 2020.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

The four delivered the blow to Netanyahu in two successive doses, as is done in our time. First the agreement between New Hope and Yamina was made public, then the agreement between Yisrael Beiteinu and Yesh Atid. Panic gripped the folks in the Balfour Street residence, and not for the first time since the election was called. Netanyahu phoned Shas leader Arye Dery urgently and implored him to sign with Likud. Dery refused. Some say he did so politely, others that he was disparaging. (“We always sign with United Torah Judaism, and Netanyahu knows that,” was Dery’s response.)


When there’s reason to worry, Netanyahu is among those who worry more. The cooperation between the leaders of the “Just Not Bibi” camp is the origin of the trouble. Only let them not get used to it. In his distress, Netanyahu is now approaching the voters of Israel’s Arab population, those who until yesterday, and for years, were the target of poisoned barbs, hatred and incitement that placed them beyond the pale.


Now he’s doing a #MeToo to Sa’ar, who never slipped into racism. The former mentioned integrating Arabs into his slate? Netanyahu too. (At the end of the week a very senior person in Likud called an Arab public figure, a well-known left-winger, to ask for the names of worthy candidates – “good Arabs,” you know – who will agree to accept a guaranteed slot on Likud’s slate.) Sa’ar published a plan to fight the rampant crime in the Arab society? On Saturday night, in a meeting of the Likud secretariat, Netanyahu announced that he had “instructed” the Balfour security minister, Amir Ohana, to draw up a plan for eradication of crime in that same society.


Apropos guaranteed slots: Netanyahu requested and received from the Likud secretariat authority to place six candidates of his choosing on the slate, in the 5th, 10th, 26th, 28th, 36th, 39th and 40th places. Practically speaking, only three are realistic. In the meantime, he’s having a hard time finding suitable figures. The good ones rejected him outright. For some reason they don’t have a yearning to find themselves in the company of Osnat Mark and May Golan, Miki Zohar and Uzi Dayan, the man of the book. Go figure.


How do we know that a company is in a bad way? When its value on the stock exchange plunges below its book value. Hereafter: Kahol Lavan and  Meirav Cohen.


The outgoing social equality minister doesn’t need the title and the ministerial perks to prove her total commitment to her job. She has a respectable record of working for the elderly and the poor. She’s more “social” than most of the people who revel in that label. And she’s also left-wing.


Open gallery view

Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 2020. 

Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 2020. Credit: Shmulik Grossman / Knesset Spokesperson Department

Serving under Netanyahu was a poison pill for her – if not the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, held by Itzik Shmuli of Labor, then at least the next best thing.


Her departure from Gantz and the remnants of his party was both easy and difficult. It was easy because she had no doubt that her place wasn’t there, alongside the largely right-wing remnant of the party.


Omer Yankelevich, meanwhile, is a right-wing ultra-Orthodox legislator for Kahol Lavan who supports illegal outposts in the West Bank. She’s the one who said to Ahmad Tibi that if the Joint List of Arab parties breaks up, the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah will be a good option for him. She’s far closer to Gantz’s ear and heart than Meirav Cohen is.


Leaving was also easy for Cohen because the alternative that awaited her with open arms – Lapid’s Yesh Atid – was the most natural place to land. She also sent feelers out to Huldai’s new party, but as someone who knows said sagely, Lapid is a far more enthusiastic suitor than the stubborn Tel Aviv mayor.


The difficulty was because of Gantz. Cohen is fond of him and feels she owes him. He put her on the Kahol Lavan ticket and appointed her a minister. Now, when he’s down and out, his party gasping on the brink of the 3.25-percent electoral threshold, abandoned by half the party’s caucus and now almost a negligible figure, she knew what another abandonment would do to him. And it would be her, of all people, and Lapid, the demon of demons.


Open gallery view

Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz at a Kahol Lavan meeting in the Knesset, December 9, 2019

Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz at a Kahol Lavan meeting in the Knesset, December 9, 2019Credit: Ohad Zwingenberg

They held a great many conversations, in addition to her conversations with Lapid. Are you talking with him? Gantz asked her. Yes, she told him. Will you join him, even alone? Yes, she replied.


For hours she implored him to meet with Lapid, to make up and agree to be on a slate headed by the Yesh Atid leader. Three times in Kahol Lavan, Gantz was first on the ticket and Lapid second – now let them reverse it.


Nada. Gantz didn’t want any part of it. Netanyahu battered, slandered and humiliated him, even sent a rabbi to record his adviser Israel Bachar, and Gantz agreed to join a government with him. So with Lapid he wasn’t even willing to talk? It was hard for Cohen to accept that.


Last Friday she again spoke to the two of them about a reconciliation. Lapid didn’t rule it out. Gantz didn’t respond but in the evening he appeared on the popular “Ofira and Berko” television program and called Lapid a “people hater” (while describing Netanyahu as a “complex person” – go figure).


She realized then that the door had been slammed. On both sides. The option (denied by Gantz, though he did actually consider it) of hooking up with Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party looked insane to her – with or without the far-right Smotrich. To her there’s no difference.


“We should have left in August when we saw he wasn’t passing a budget,” Cohen told me this week, referring to Netanyahu. “We should have realized then that he was toying with us all.”


I asked her why she waited until now. “I wanted to give Benny more time,” she said. “It was hard for me. I made it clear to him that I wasn't going to run in Kahol Lavan. At one point I said to him: If it’s important to you, I’ll go home. I won’t run.”


“That’s what you said?” I asked her. “And you meant it?”


“Yes,” she said.  “I thought it would be easier for him if I didn’t run. To his credit, he didn’t tell me to do that.”



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