Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon

Former defense minister and one-fourth of the Blue&White “cockpit,” MK Moshe Ya’alon, on Sunday tweeted: “Everyone who criticized us when we warned against Israel becoming Erdogan’s Turkey, let them digest and internalize the cynical exploitation of the coronavirus crisis to the personal, political needs of a defendant before his trial.”

Ya’alon stressed: “Blue&White is enlisted to eradicate the coronavirus, unconditionally and with no consideration,” but continues: “Blue&White cannot be complicit in the elimination of democracy in our country by a defendant running away from justice.”

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Rabbi Chaim Navon of Modi’in who teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum and Herzog College, responded on Facebook Sunday that while “we’ve gotten used to Ya’alon comparing Netanyahu to Erdogan,” his latest statement that Netanyahu’s efforts to quell the progress of the coronavirus are a cynical exploitation of the crisis “is simply irresponsible,” according to Navon, “implying that these measures are unnecessary, and hinting at refusing to support an emergency government.”

“There is no basis for such serious charges against Netanyahu,” Navon wrote, since “the steps he has taken are very similar to the steps taken in other Western countries.”

“Netanyahu is a very cautious man, as we have known for many years,” Navon wrote. “There is no reason to think that his policy today is motivated by any other consideration. Moreover, Netanyahu has blocked the more extreme proposals from the health ministry to completely paralyze the economy, because he understands that such economic paralysis would likely risk lives, too.”

Ya’alon, as well as Blue&White chairman Benny Gantz, are critical of the late-night announcement by Justice Minister Amir Ohayon that he was closing the courts – which meant a delay of Netanyahu’s court opening date this Tuesday. Granted, it was a save for the PM, but the move was not so outside the norm in a country where every school, restaurant, movie theater and shopping center have been ordered closed, to justify comparing it to the Turkish tyrant.

Netanyahu has invited Blue&White to join his government for a 6-month emergency stint, or, alternatively, for a full-term rotation government, where he, Netanyahu, would be first at the helm, to be followed by Gantz. It is the very same offer they rejected last time, but now the PM is holding the coronavirus card, and the fact is that his opponents can’t find an effective way to finesse him. So they’re exasperated, furious and a little scared.

Blue&White was planning to start the week with voting out Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein from Likud, replacing him with their own Meir Cohen, and then, with the gavel on their side, introduce a bill forbidding an MK who is facing criminal indictments to compose a government.

But it was a controversial bill from the start, and several anti-Netanyahu MKs are already on the record saying they couldn’t support it on constitutional grounds, seeing as this law would be tailor-made to fit a single, highly specific individual.

Stay tuned.

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