Post-mortem reports on the twilight of the Netanyahu era will zero in on the week after he was formally indicted for criminal behavior. Ministers and MKs will solemnly recount how they trooped to the Prime Minister’s Office and found there an alarmed and gloomy figure. They will say he looked like a general who had led his troops to defeat after defeat. All his planes had been shot down, his warships sunk, and he stood brooding over a battle plan from which emanated a foreboding silence.
Like an obstinate commander who refuses to internalize his terminal condition, he manufactures in his feverish mind divisions and squadrons and sends them to the front. The force commanders surrounding him, whether for fear of his wrath or out of empathy and pity, play along with him. They come and go, pretending to be doing things, pretending that as long as he’s there, there’s hope. He looks at their faces and wonders what’s going through their heads. Who will defect, who will betray. Who will rise against him.
He is haunted. Thirteen days remain to the end of the last extension to set up a government. On the one hand, it’s eternity. On the other hand, it’s a fraction of a second. Sixty-one signatures – that’s all it takes to stop the headlong slide toward the insanity of a third election.
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