Many people here are convinced that when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s former adviser Ari Harow turned state’s witness, it marked the beginning of the end for Israel’s longest serving leader. Not a few believe that Netanyahu will soon resign, and could even find himself convicted of bribery and fraud.
Yet, just as many, if not more, are in agreement with Professor Alan Dershowitz, who said that the multiple investigations into Netanyahu’s conduct are a deliberate attempt by the mainstream media and left-wing politicians to force him out of office. Since the left “can’t beat him through democratic means,” Dershowitz said, “they’re trying to use these investigations and the media to push him out of office.”
The notion that Netanyahu must be overthrown by almost any means necessary was poignantly expressed recently by well-known actress Rivka Michaeli, who told the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv that she hopes that “people who care for this country will wake up and take by force what was taken from us by force.” As to who took what by force, Michaeli left that to the readers’ imagination.
To be sure, Michaeli is one of many who are willing to stop at nothing in their campaign to oust Netanyahu. For several months now, a group of several hundred have been demonstrating outside the home of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, demanding that he stop stalling the investigations into Netanyahu, as they see it. Passions runs high among these demonstrators. One recently held a sign reading: “Bibi is guilty until proven innocent!!!” Though none in this group seemed bothered by the fact that the absurd slogan was signed by none other than “The Democratic Camp — The Democrats,” whoever that is.
Dershowitz may indeed have a point. To see that, all one need do is compare the outrage over Netanyahu’s drinking and smoking habits to the nonchalant attitude toward former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s extravagant collection of fountain pens (valued at an estimated $1 million), many of which were received as gifts during his time in office. Or, perhaps consider the lavish birthday parties that were thrown for the late Shimon Peres at the state’s expense, which didn’t seem to bother either the media or his supporters.
Sadly, this blatant double standard, coupled with a constant flow of misinformation, may ultimately have the desired effect. Still, as one trustworthy journalist, Yoav Yitzhak, speculated, turning Harow state’s witness wasn’t done to ensures Netanyahu’s indictment, as so many had hoped. Rather, the goal is to get to the truth, whatever it may be.
In the meantime, media polls show a steady decrease in support for Netanyahu. Social media, on the other hand, gives the impression that a growing number of people who didn’t vote for Netanyahu will vote for him next time around due to little more than their distaste for such anti-democratic campaigns designed to overthrow a duly-elected government.
But the battle is still raging, and its outcome is anything but certain.