Millions will continue to pour out of Israeli taxpayer pockets to sponsor another year of Shimon. There will be another planetary Shimon conference next year, where experts from all over will come to Jerusalem to praise Shimon (and Tony Blair, of course, and Elie Wiesel, and Kissinger). Shimon will fly one more year to Davos, Shimon will kiss little girls who give him flowers on his pre-birthday, his birthday and his after-birthday, and, most importantly: Shimon will keep pushing the inevitable peace deal with the Palestinians, which is what the world is paying him for – the rest is just a bonus.
Now would be a good time to ask why Bibi needs this headache. After all, a president who gets his mandate directly from the people can seriously alter the political system in Israel. It makes no sense to go into all this hoopla just to elect the same ceremonial garden gnom.
One reason could be that Bibi might be coveting this job for himself some day. If it’s good to be the king, then it’s fun to be the king maker. But I don’t think that’s the real reason.
Like everything big and scary in Netanyahu’s life, the source of this news ripple must be Sara Netanyahu.
Sara hates Rueven Rivlin, the former Knesset Speaker, a veteran Likudnik who speaks his mind and is cursed by way too much honesty. He’s sweet and charming and generous, and people really like him, left, right and center. He made the mistake of not towing the party line last term, so Sara punished him by telling her husband to pick someone else for Speaker. You can’t slight Bibi and continue to hold the position to which you brought honor and dignity. No slack was cut for Rubi Rivlin.
At least 20 MKs, including government ministers have declared their support for Rivlin to be the next president of Israel. Netanyahu cannot expect to beat him without a bloody and humiliating fight. Rivlin is strongly associated with the pro-settlement camp. Going openly against him would create a needless, premature rift between the prime minister and the people he’s planning to deport from their homes some day.
Having in his possession no one even close to Rivlin in terms of qualifications and support to the man Sara despises, Netanyahu is playing for time. Give Shimon an extra year, spend a few extra millions, no harm done and Bibi can come home to a modicum of domestic tranquility, except for the Norwegian shiksa on the living room couch.
How did the flea rise up? Hop springs eternal.