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Netanyahu’s Deceitful Lockdown

Have pity on the Abu al-Kiyan family; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to hurt them once again. After four years in which the slain family patriarch, Yakub, was libeled as a terrorist who killed a policeman, the family has once again fallen into Netanyahu’s bottomless pit of cynicism.

Suddenly, he has remembered them. Suddenly, he has decided to apologize. But he didn’t even mention that he himself asserted, without investigating, that “this was a terror attack.”

Immediately after this false accusation, Netanyahu received many reports showing that no terror attack occurred and that Abu Al-Kiyan, a veteran educator, was no terrorist. But Netanyahu kept mum. The facts weren’t politically convenient for him.

Only now, when it’s politically useful for him, has he revisited this story, in order to attack, slander and undermine the credibility of the police and prosecution. He doesn’t care what happens to the Abu al-Kiyan family, whose home lies demolished, whose income has been lost and who don’t even have electricity and water. All Netanyahu cares about is the conclusion he presented: An independent commission of inquiry must be set up to investigate the conduct of the police and prosecution in his own criminal cases.

And what about Abu al-Kiyan’s case? Don’t make him laugh. That doesn’t interest him at all.

Elsewhere in the world, there are other leaders. They work day and night to reduce the incidence of the coronavirus and rehabilitate their economies. Only we have a prime minister who’s concerned only about himself, and for whom any engagement in other issues is intended solely for his own benefit.

He doesn’t care about the 1,070 people who have died. He doesn’t care about the 500,000 unemployed. He cares about one thing only – his trial.

Netanyahu is pursuing two tracks simultaneously.

The first is that of the attorney general. It involves ceaselessly attacking Avichai Mendelblit to get him to break and resign, thereby enabling Netanyahu to appoint an attorney general after his own heart who will cancel his trial due to “lack of public interest.”

The second track is the general lockdown he intends to impose later this month to stop the demonstrations outside his official residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street.

Who knows better than he that demonstrations can change public opinion, which could cause him to lose the next election? And if he isn’t prime minister, he won’t be able to continue undermining the legal system and the courts.

Cabinet ministers also understand this very well, and they have raced to serve him. Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis, for instance, said a few days ago that democracy is important and the right to demonstrate is a sacred one, but nevertheless, “We need to restrict the demonstrations on Balfour due to the coronavirus.”

National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz also understands very well which side his bread is buttered on.

He proposed imposing a full lockdown on Israel, and to this end, he invented completely fictitious data, scaring us with “10,000 people dead and a million sick” in another year.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has also provided exaggerated statistics on the incidence of the virus, just so he can say there’s no alternative to a lockdown.

I still remember how he said in early August that there would be “1,000 seriously ill patients and the hospitals would collapse.”

But in fact, the number of seriously ill patients has risen slowly and is currently below 500. And we shouldn’t forget that even this statistic was deliberately inflated by Edelstein’s Health Ministry; it isn’t actually true.

Imposing a full lockdown has another important function as well – papering over the crying failure by Netanyahu and his ministers to manage the war against the virus. A lockdown also shifts responsibility from Netanyahu to the public.

After all, we haven’t forgotten that he opposed increasing the number of tests and bringing the army’s Home Front Command into the battle, just because doing so would have granted an achievement to then-Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

During the first wave of the virus, he boasted that leaders around the world were consulting him.

Today, during the second wave, not one leader is calling.

He has dragged Israel into last place in terms of both the daily number of new coronavirus patients and the economy. And it’s purely because all his attention, all his effort, all his being are directed not at the coronavirus or the economy, but solely at disappearing his trial.

Header: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Health Ministry CEO Moshe Bar Siman Tov (L), health care basket chairman, Professor Roni Gamzo (C-R), and basket coordinator Osnat Luksemburg (R), at a press conference at the PM’s office in Jerusalem, presenting the recommendations on the Health care basket. December 29, 2017. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

Original: Nehemia Shtrasler – HAARETZ