Somebody should send flowers to Lieberman, Elkin, Saar and, of course, to Bennett and Shaked. Not only has their daring initiative ended earlier than expected with Yair Lapid as prime minister and Benny Gantz as defense minister, they have also given the Lapid bloc the gift of its new election slogan.
This slogan is “poison machine.” It was dreamed up by the bureau of outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in his hour of distress. Apparently, however, only Netanyahu supporters have “poison machines.” You can already hear the slogan resound from every corner of the land, from the head of the transitional government and his confidantes to journalists and pundits.
A machine is a wonderful thing. Indeed, why make do with the evil Gargamel called “Bibi” when you can strike the fear of a mysterious machine into the hearts of the public—an evil contraption operated from a basement in Caesarea, a dark conspiracy to poison the pure souls of our innocent citizens. In a few years, somebody will no doubt find a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of the Likud.
On the left, of course, there aren’t and never were any machines. Everything is authentic and free of manipulation. And without a doubt, it is free of poison. Except, of course, for slogans like those used during the coronavirus pandemic: “An unelected government tells its citizens they are prohibited from leaving their homes.” Or during a military operation: “Why does the fire break out precisely when it’s convenient for the prime minister?” It is doubtful that, in the entire history of Israel, such poisonous and dangerous statements were ever made in times of emergency. We are fortunate that police sent to enforce lockdowns and soldiers called up for reserve duty showed national responsibility at a time when the chairman of the opposition recklessly hinted to them that they were risking their lives for a political whim.
Bennett and Lapid need to put things in perspective: They haven’t yet experienced anything close to the poison machine that operated like a Swiss clock against Netanyahu. About Lapid, for example: “He doesn’t have a high school matriculation certificate,” “he didn’t do combat service, he was a reporter for the IDF magazine.” You call that poison. Well, try being Netanyahu, who lives with daily comparisons to bloodthirsty dictators like Louis the 14th and Nicolae Ceausescu; is compared to Erdogan; whose government was described as being on the brink of fascism or even Nazism. And none of that was from marginal Facebook activists but straight from the mouth of the most prominent speakers in Israeli public life.
Try having the leaders of protests against you get positive coverage in the weekend papers despite declaring, “Let’s throw a Molotov cocktail into Balfour” or “the violence will come.” And what about when “Netanyahu is a danger to Israel” becomes standard rhetoric among former defense establishment officials, or when there are demonstrations under your window in which curses and insults are shouted at you, not to mention all sorts of vulgar performances that are better forgotten.
That, Lapid and Bennett, is what a real poison machine looks like. We know very well just how coordinated it was and just how synchronized it was with the centers of power in luxury towers and the mainstream media. The beauty of it is that you, Lapid, are the one to enjoy its tailwind, which has taken you all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Dr. Eithan Orkibi is the editor of Politi, Israel Hayom’s current affairs weekend magazine.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.