Pinchas Idan said he heard from the head of the Histadrut that Netanyahu was involved in coordinating the timing of the strike. If only the Histadrut hadn’t been hysterically trying to find out from anyone when Netanyahu was making his announcement…
Pinchas Idan, Chairman of the Airports Authority Employees Committee, on March 29 admitted the strike he announced on March 27––which was one of the factors that pushed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to capitulate and suspend the judicial reform––was illegal (Man Who Shut Down Ben Gurion International: Strike Was Illegal).
Idan, who is a member of the Likud party, even suggested to all passengers who had been affected by the strike: “Go to court, file a lawsuit against me and the Histadrut, and whatever they decide, I will accept.”
Now, having been sued at the Likud party’s court, Idan revealed a conversation he had had with Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar David, just before he shut down the airport.
According to Idan, Bar David explicitly stated to him during that conversation that the strike was coordinated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, and that it was expected to be very short, Kan 11 News reported Sunday morning. But Idan did not hear for himself anything from Netanyahu.
In a report by Amit Segal, Segal shows that this doesn’t quite work out in reality.
Everyone expected Netanyahu to make an announcement that he was stopping the judicial reforms, and the Histadrut had wanted to make their announcement of the strike before Netanyahu spoke. The Histadrut had wanted to end their strike quickly, so they would have all the political gains of announcing the strike, but without any of the costs.
But Netanyahu took everyone by surprise when it was publicized that he was making his announcement earlier than everyone previous thought – and before the Histadrut had announced their strike. At which point the Histadrut announced their strike earlier. but Netanyahu, who clearly was not part of their plans, only made his decision and announcement much later in the day, after numerous delays.
According to Segal, the Histadrut began hysterically calling reporters trying to find anyone who knew when Netanyahu would be speaking, which, if they were coordinating with Netanyahu, would obviously have been unnecessary.
Segal explains Idan probably understood from Arnon Ben David, that Ben David wanted to time his strike with Netanyahu’s speech, but didn’t realize that Ben David was not actually coordinating with Netanyahu.
Speaking to Kan 11 reporter Michael Shemesh on March 29, Idan confessed: “I had to respect the chairman of the Histadrut. If I had known it would last a long time, I would have shortened [the strike] to an hour or an hour and a half. I understood that it would be an hour to an hour and a half. We were waiting for the Prime Minister’s press conference, which did not happen.”
Netanyahu’s announcement, which was scheduled for 10 AM on Monday, was delayed from one hour to the next for a full 11 hours until the PM finally appeared before the nation and suspended the legislation.
When Kan 11 reported in real-time that the fix was in and that Netanyahu’s office and the Histadrut were in cahoots, both denied it. And according to Segal, apparently both were telling the truth.
Some feel that Netanyahu was looking for a ladder on which he could climb down from the impossibly tall tree of his justice minister’s judicial reform. The fact is Netanyahu never asked for the reform, all he wanted was to deny his political enemies––most notably Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara––the ability to declare him incapacitated over his conflict of interest. Once that law had been passed, the PM couldn’t care less for the rest of it.
Netanyahu’s concerns before the Nov. 2022 election included lowering the cost of living, solving the housing crisis, expanding the agreements with Israel’s regional neighbors, dealing with the Iranian threat, and managing the PA and Hamas terrorism. If there were statements regarding changes in the judicial system, they didn’t come from Netanyahu, but from Eli Cohen, the current foreign minister, and those did not foretell overhauling the system, only corrections and adjustments. Cohen was more concerned with the civil service denying Brigadier General (Res.) Gal Hirsch the post of police commissioner than he was with the override clause. Yariv Levin, the current justice minister did speak about the need for judicial reform.
Idan argues in his response to the Likud court, that if he is banned from the Likud, PM Netanyahu and DM Yoav Gallant should also be banned since they both acted contrary to the faction’s decision to vote in favor of the judicial reform by stopping the legislation. Idan claims that he simply wanted to carry out Netanyahu’s instructions.
On Sunday, Idan walked back his initial claim. According to a report in Globes. “Arnon Bar-David, the chairman of the Histadrut, ordered at the conference to shut down the economy,” Idan wrote in clarification. “I knew that the Prime Minister would hold a press conference shortly after the announcement, and I estimated that then the strike would end. I thought at the time that maybe there was some coordination between the parties, something that turned out to be incorrect in retrospect.”