Photo Credit: Gideon Levy's Facebook page
Gideon Levy (R.) with Roger Waters

Haaretz pundit Gideon Levy, a vehement opponent of the Israeli government’s policy in Judea and Samaria, who called the construction of Jewish settlements on private Arab land “the most criminal enterprise in Israel’s history,” and supports the BDS movement, on Sunday morning called on Blue&White chairman Benny Gantz to “Be brave, surrender, and join Netanyahu.”

Levy predicts that, should Gantz continue to resist a unity coalition government, Netanyahu would continue to beat his drums and warn Israelis against Blue&White’s conspiracy to align with the Joint Arab List, a move that is inconceivable, even repugnant to most Israeli Jews – seeing as so many Arab List MKs deny the very idea of a Jewish State, never mind the Law of Return and the recently enacted Nationality Law.

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“If such a serious danger to democracy, maybe even to the state, is lurking about, as so many here are suggesting with great pathos, then surely we must put aside all our reservations and join the government in order to reduce the damage,” Levy writes. “Protesters dressed in black will not stop Netanyahu. But a Blue&White justice minister might.”

“Unity governments are always a bad thing, and we should always resist them, but not this time, when the only issue at hand is the coronavirus, nothing else,” Levy continues. “But when there’s no choice, there’s no choice. Surrender, withdrawal, and even breach of election promises are not necessarily the worst choices. Gantz should now be brave enough to surrender.”

“One can also assume that in Blue&White they understand the growing public sentiment that a time of panic is not a time for the transfer of power,” Levy writes, admitting that “Netanyahu appears to be managing the crisis, and this is difficult to contradict. Only when the thicket of clouds disperses will we be able to judge his behavior in face of the coronavirus. In the meantime, the trust that a large part of the public has in him is a significant asset for Netanyahu in time of crisis. Conclusion: continuing Netanyahu’s term until the crisis is over would not be a disaster.”

Indeed, Levy says, “Blue&White ministers may be the only barrier before additional harm that will be inflicted on government institutions. Also, even a breakup in the Blue&White Knesset faction over joining the government won’t be a big disaster: this faction has never harbored a serious promise for anything new, with or without Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon in its ranks. Those who viewed retired Israeli generals as a promise for change, for more peace, justice and equality, were intentionally deceiving themselves.”

Levy doubts that Israelis would now like to see Netanyahu or any member of his team replaced. “Does anyone really know for sure that Gantz will manage this crisis better?” He wonders. “Will Lapid stand in the public square and lead a choir with his sore throat in singing, We Love Israel, and the danger of the coronavirus will pass?”

Clearly, this is not Gideon Levy’s endorsement of Netanyahu as it is an expression of his low opinion of the alternative. And you thought Israeli leftists were stupid.

The talkbacks, 250 by 11 AM (the op-ed was published at 6 AM), mostly wanted to know where is Gideon Levy and when are the aliens going to return him. We’ll keep you posted.

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