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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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There’s Nobody Here But Us Bennetts

Many forget that Netanyahu's score on his actions during the Disengagement was a floor hugging 14%.
HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett visited clubs in Tel Aviv,. December 27 2012.

HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett with a friend, Tel Aviv,. December 27 2012.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

An examination through moral lenses of Netanyahu’s and Bennet’s positions on the expulsion of Jews, reveals that they are opposite sides of the same coin. On one side are carved super-moral values, and on the other moral degradation. On one side national-Jewish values, on the other politically leftist merged with economically right-wing policies. On one side a man who objects, in the name of morality, to expelling people from their homes, on the other one supporting the vile deportation of good Jews, salt of the earth, who had turned Gush Katif into a thriving region and were already raising their third generation there.

And, please, don’t give me the line about outside coercion. There was no foreign pressure involved in the expulsion of Gush Katif, only the existential threat against Prime Minister Sharon by renegade ministers vowing to desert his government.


It’s true that the public tends to forget that Netanyahu was a persistent partner in the expulsion of Gush Katif. This week I sat in some conference in Tel Aviv commemorating the Disengagement, and a respectable lady sitting on my side yelled excitedly at the stage: “But Netanyahu objected to the Disengagement!” She, like so many others, had forgotten that Netanyahu’s score on his actions during the Disengagement was a floor hugging 14% (meaning that during 86% of the related discussions in the Knesset he voted either for transfer or at most abstained). Try and explain to her that when the Knesset was debating the proposition of a national referendum on the Disengagement, in October, 2004, after MK Uri Ariel chided him for voting against the referendum, he received from Netanyahu the surprising answer, immortalized by the television cameras: “Make no mistake about it, in the Likud membership referendum I will support the Disengagement.”

So now this man, who was so eager to support that crime, is rebuking a man whose crime is his being moral. An upside down world.

In his efforts to blacken Bennet’s face, Netanyahu has taken an unprecedented, sly step. Minutes before Shabbat, he alerted over to his office the television crews to be interviewed and condemn Bennett. The interviews were broadcast Friday night, and were rehashed ad nauseum throughout the Shabbat. Being Shabbat observers, Bennett and his staff had no way of responding. So the hate Bennett campaign had free reign, unanswered, for 25 hours. Did we mention sly?

But the public was hip to it. The public rejected the campaign to blacken Bennett’s face. An Haaretz poll conducted after the storm (Dec. 25) showed Jewish Home rising to 13 seats. If I were Bennett, I’d have sent Netanyahu a large bouquet of flowers.


What is the actual conclusion from the attack on Bennett and his clearly morally superior statement? It’s not inconceivable that Netanyahu has his own big plan, following in Ariel Sharon’s footsteps, to execute yet another disengagement, this time in Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu has already made clear that this would be his final term in office, and therefore he intends to permit himself moves that have not been tried in the past. If he’s looking at Disengagement Part 2, he would obviously not rely on Bennett, but would include, instead, Shelly Yachimovich and the conscientious objectors to IDF service on her list, Meirav Michaeli (5th), Yossi Yona (20th) and other leftists; as well as Mrs, Clean, Tzipi Livni, who has in her number 2 spot the most senior conscientious objector in IDF history, retired Brigadier General Amram Mitzna, who, in the middle of the battle on Beirut refused a direct order to enter the Lebanese terror capital; and, of course, rising start Yair Lapid.

In such a case, Jewish Home will stay in the opposition. But it’s still better to have an opposition Jewish Home faction with 15 seats that matters, over the 3 member faction inside the former coalition government—with the Science and Space portfolio—that mattered to no one.

At this stage of the race to the Knesset, as the Jewish Home’s strength is only increasing, and while the threat of a Bibi-Shelly-Tzipi-Yair government is in the air, let us remember that not one democratic government in the world has expelled Jews forcibly in the last 68 years, except for the Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu governments.

Menachem Rahat

About the Author: Born in Tel Aviv in 1943. Graduated Bar Ilan University (Political Science and History) and Haifa University (Political Science). Chaired the Maariv political desk for 24 years. Married with children and grandchildren. Living in Raanana.

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