INTO THE FRAY: Merited mistrust?


There is something sick in the State Prosecutor’s Office; Shai Nitzan is not fit to be the State Prosecutor” – Judge Hila Gerstel, former Commissioner for Prosecutorial Oversight

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (But who will guard the guardians themselves?)

Juvenal, a Roman poet (circa 55 CE- circa 127 CE), Satire VI, line 347.

Public trust in the police – the lowest in the West…only 22% of Israelis believe that judges don’t take bribesHaaretz, Oct. 31, 2011.

Public approval of the police at all time low – below all other public services – Haaretz, July 7, 2013.

Last Thursday (Nov. 21, 2019), Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit dropped a long-awaited bombshell on Israel’s political system.

Emotions erupt

After months of speculation, he announced his intent to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000 (the Bezeq-Walla Affair); for breach of trust in Case 1000 (the Illegal Gifts Affair); and for breach of trust in Case 2000 (the Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair).

The announcement ignited an eruption of divergent public emotions. The Bibiphobes applauded it with undisguised glee, the Bibiphiles rejected it with unmasked abhorrence.

Netanyahu himself lambasted the decision. After a bland statement expressing generic “respect” for “the legal authorities”, he launched a bitter attack against specific sectors of those same authorities: “you have to be blind not to see that something bad has happened to the police investigators and to the people in the State Attorney’s Office.”

Continuing his condemnation, he alleged: “We are witnessing an attempted coup against a prime minister on trumped-up charges and a tainted and tendentious investigation process…They didn’t pursue the truth; they pursued me.”

According to Netanyahu: “[The} tainted investigation process, including inventing new crimes, has reached its apex today. It horrifies not only me, but masses of citizens in Israel, and not only on the right…This tainted process raises questions among the public about the police’s investigations and the prosecution. The public has lost trust in these institutions…This is selective enforcement on steroids. It’s enforcement just for me.”

Similar sentiments

I confess that I find that Netanyahu’s words of censure resonate with me.

Indeed, over the past two years I have expressed similar sentiments myself. For example, in February 2018, I wrote a piece entitled Coup d’etat, in which I warned : “If he is … forced out of office, many will see this as naked politicization of law enforcement in the country, in effect, a legalistic coup d’état, designed to annul the outcome of elections — and will deal a mortal blow to their faith in the democratic process”.

Shortly thereafter, in The police, the press and a politicized “Putsch”?, I wrote: “The unrelenting drive to bring an indictment — any indictment — against Netanyahu has long exceeded the bounds of reasonable law enforcement”.

In March this year, in Will the “Deep-State” destroy democracy, I cited the prominent legal expert, Prof Alan Dershowitz, who sharply criticized the legal action against Netanyahu: “ The first probe, also known as case 1000, involves gifts of cigars and champagne Netanyahu received from close friends…I strongly believe that the appropriate criteria for criminal prosecution have not been met in the cigar and champagne case against Netanyahu…The other investigations (dubbed 2000 and 4000) pose even greater dangers to democratic governance and civil liberties…”

Earlier this month, in Democracy devoid of the demos?, I recalled the warning articulated by former Justice Minister, ‘Tommy’ Lapid (father of MK Yair Lapid of the Blue & White faction) : “…the legal system in Israel is being undermined by an over-zealous State Prosecutor’s Office, that is losing esteem and credibility with each additional trial…”; while the current Justice Minister expressed concern over a “dangerous symbiosis between elements in the police Major Crimes Unit, the State Prosecutor’s Office and the media”.

Understandable uproar

The hullabaloo is not difficult to understand.

Indeed, for the layman, the indictments appear to be uncompelling—to say the least.

After all, as I have written elsewhere, to “anyone but a rabid “Bibiphobe”, they appear transparently contrived, indeed, a thinly veiled attempt at a legalistic coup…creating a deep sense of unease that Israel’s legal establishment is being exploited for patent political ends — i.e. that unelected elites are using their positions of influence and authority to bring about political outcomes that do not correspond to — even contradict — the election results, depleting the influence of the demos in Israeli democracy.”

With regard to Case 1000, it is a little difficult to grasp why gifts of perishable goods from well-heeled acquaintances, even if inappropriately excessive, should be grounds for removing an incumbent prime minister from office. Indeed, even if punitive measures are called for, it would seem far more appropriate to impose administrative measures such as monetary penalties, rather than criminal ones.

With regards to Case 2000 involving a discussion between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, owner of Yediot Aharonot, it seems more than a little puzzling as to why any legal action is merited because of a meeting that produced no concrete result or even concrete action towards achieving that result—especially when over 40 other MKs did in fact act to do Mozes’s bidding , while Netanyahu opposed it! Perversely, no charges have been, or will be, filed against the 43 members of Knesset, who actually attempted to give Mozes what he asked for.

Case 4000 is a little more abstruse, involving Netanyahu’s actions in his role of Minister of Communications, and in which he is alleged to have bestowed on Shaul Elovitch, owner of the popular Walla channel, commercial benefits in exchange for improved coverage of Netanyahu and his family. However, not only did Netanyahu’s actions fall well within the bounds of his role as Minister of Communications, but as Caroline Glick and Alex Traiman point out, nowhere in the democratic world, has any prosecutor ever indicted – or even investigated – a politician or media organization of having committed bribery for providing positive coverage—even when such coverage came in direct exchange for legislation.

Puzzling precedent

A layman’s puzzlement might well by increased by the fact that the State Prosecution has as good as admitted that Netanyahu could not be indicted on the basis of well-established legal practice—and to do so, new legal precedents needed to be invoked.

This emerges clearly from an interview (May 8, 2019) with Shai Nitzan, the State Prosecutor, leading the legal action against Netanyahu.

During the interview, Nitzan was asked: “The determination that positive media coverage should be considered “bribery” is a legal precedent. Is it appropriate to set such a precedent for the first time in a case against a prime minister?”

His stunning, almost self-contradictory, response was: “Every legal precedent has to begin at some point. For example, in Case 4000 [involving positive coverage in the Walla site], there was no disagreement and everyone agreed that it was right to indict on bribery, despite the fact that it did not involve envelopes filled with cash, but influencing media coverage. So, just because it involves the prime minister, we should delay the precedent for another time? I do not think that this decision involves a widening of the charge of bribery or breach of trust.” 

This leaves one to ponder over why, if the decision was in fact unprecedented, how could it possibly not involve widening the charges?

Bursting the bubble? 

Significantly, grave questions have been raised over the functioning of the State Prosecutor’s Office, in general, and of the State Prosecutor Nitzan, in particular—by none other than the person appointed to oversee them—retired Judge Hila Gerstel, who resigned from her role as Commissioner for Prosecutorial Oversight—after an acrimonious relationship with the State Prosecutor’s Office.

In an interview in the business daily, The Marker (owned by the far-left Haaretz), headlined There is something sick in the State Prosecutor’s Office; Shai Nitzan is not fit to be the State Prosecutor, Gerstel was sharply critical of both.

Asked how she felt about what she had experienced as Prosecutorial Oversight Commissioner, she replied: “As if the bubble, in which I had lived for 24 years, had burst. I believed that there were systems that worked properly in the country and I discovered that the particular system, over which I was appointed to inspect, was not functioning as it should.

Gerstel admitted that, despite the fact that her fellow judges warned her that she did not know what she was getting into, she believed that the State Prosecutor’s Office was a body of honest diligent people, which focused exclusively on the public interest and were not willing to “cut corners” . Later, however, this changed: “We got the feeling that no-one cared about the system.” 

As for Shai Nitzan, Gerstel was brusque and harsh: “In the contacts between us there were several times I got the impression that there was a problem with him being precise and truthful. I believe that the State Prosecutor must be a manager and a leader. This was not what I discovered. There is no leadership in the State Prosecutor’s Office.”

In response to the question whether Shai Nitzan should be State Prosecutor, she answered bluntly: “According to my criteria: No. From my knowledge of him: No.

Experts excoriate 

The profound sense of unease, which all the preceding accumulation of troubling question marks generates, is heightened by the fact that an impressive battery of internationally renowned legal experts has excoriated the legal action against Netanyahu—in no uncertain terms.

Thus, in a detailed critique in Tablet Magazine, Prof. Avi Bell warned: “Mandelblit’s announcement inserts law enforcement officials into the political arena in an unprecedented way, and on a very shaky legal foundation. If the legal theories that the attorney general is introducing against Netanyahu become general law, a considerable part of the democratic life of Israel will have to pass through police interrogation rooms. If they remain restricted to Netanyahu, the partisanship will permanently damage public trust in the Israeli legal system.”

According to Bell: “…the danger in the novel legal theories introduced by Mandelblit is stark. The criminal charges against the prime minister lack legal substance, and they threaten both the rule of law in Israel and the health of its democracy.””

Prof. Alan Dershowitz, who has written several critical op-eds and an open letter to Mandelblit, calling on him to drop the indictments, warned that “we’re seeing the weaponization of criminal justice for political purposes.”

According to Deshowitz: “The relationship between politics and the media—and between politicians and publishers—is too nuanced, subtle and complex to be subject to the heavy hand of criminal law…To empower prosecutors to probe these mixed motivations is to empower them to exercise undemocratic control over crucial institutions of democracy.”

Capacious crimes? 

Prof. Bell concludes his Table Magazine critique in dour tones: “The dispiriting truth is that there have always been two ways to understand the investigations against Netanyahu, and the implications for Israeli democracy are alarming.”

According to Bell: “One way to look at the investigation is as a neutral application of a new understanding of the traditional crimes of bribery and breach of public trust. Under this interpretation, Mandelblit’s capacious understanding of the crimes of breach of trust and bribery may be unprecedented, but will now be applied across the board to all public officials and politicians. The horrifying result will be police oversight of nearly all interactions between media and public officials.

Underscoring the absurdity of the situation likely to arise, Bell points out: “When the evening news devotes 15 minutes of generally positive coverage to Benny Gantz or to Mandelblit himself, producers and reporters may have to expect a summons to a police interrogation where they will be asked to demonstrate the purity of their motives. Politicians and public officials in constant touch with the media—that is, everyone in public life—will always find themselves on the verge of conviction of the felony of taking bribes, or, at least, ‘breach of public trust’. The center of Israeli political life will move to [police] interrogation rooms ….” 

As Bell explains: “The other interpretation is that the investigations should be seen as Netanyahu and his supporters paint them: special rules that are meant to apply only to Netanyahu. Israeli political life will not move to the police station, but will face the constant threat that law enforcement authorities may suddenly decide to apply “Bibi rules.

He warns sternly: “The harm to Israeli democracy of double standards in the criminal law based on prosecutor’s will would be incalculable. And law enforcement officials could never be seen as nonpartisan again.”

Contrived criminality

It was Dershowitz who astutely remarked: “If somebody were to introduce legislation saying that it is a crime for a politician to seek good coverage and it came for a vote, it wouldn’t get a single vote in the Knesset. And that’s the best proof that it shouldn’t be prosecuted as a crime under today’s law…If you couldn’t get the Knesset to pass as law criminalizing this, you shouldn’t be punishing it.”

One thing is beyond doubt: No good result can come out of these indictments.

If Netanyahu is found guilty, roughly half the Israeli public will feel that there has been a gross miscarriage of justice—and the already tenuous public trust in Israel’s arms of law and order with be undermined even further.

On the other hand, if he is acquitted, roughly (the other) half of the Israeli public will feel that has been a gross miscarriage of justice-and the already tenuous faith in Israel’s system of law and order will eroded even further.

Among the biggest losers will be those who launched this ill-considered initiative in the first place. The mistrust it will generate in them, will be certainly be well merited.

Martin Sherman is the founder & executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

November 29, 2019 | 7 Comments »

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  1. This is a quotation from a very perceptive column by Evelyn Gordon. First appeared in JPS, then in Israel Hayom. Note the dire warning in the last sentence.

    Once a significant portion of the citizenry starts to view legal decisions as politics in another guise, the consensus on which democracy’s survival depends – that legal decisions must be honored – will rapidly erode.

    As I’ve noted before, this is already happening in Israel. But last week’s indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provides a particularly worrying example of the costs.

    I’m the rare Netanyahu supporter who thinks that one of the three cases against him is actually serious. But for two understandable reasons, many supporters believe that he’s simply being persecuted by a leftist legal establishment frustrated by repeated failures to oust him through democratic elections.

    The first is that the Attorney General’s Office and the courts have intervened in literally thousands of policy decisions over the past three decades, frequently in defiance of actual written law and almost always in the Left’s favor. In short, both bodies have routinely behaved like political activists rather than impartial jurists. So rightists have no reason to trust their impartiality now.

    Second, Netanyahu has been targeted by frivolous investigations – including, in my view, two of the three now going to trial – ever since he first became prime minister in 1996. All involved genuinely repulsive conduct on Netanyahu’s part. But rather than treating such conduct as a problem on which the public, rather than the courts, must render judgment, the legal establishment repeatedly opened cases against him, to which they devoted countless man-hours before finally closing them.

    Now, the legal establishment says it has finally found a real crime. But like the boy who cried wolf, Netanyahu’s supporters no longer believe it.

    The combination of these two factors means that many Israelis genuinely feel that their prime minister has been ousted by a corrupt legal establishment solely because it opposes his policies. And that will inevitably foster even greater distrust of the legal system.

    Leftists spend a lot of time these days fretting about democracy’s possible collapse. But if they really want to avert such a collapse, the first step is to stop politicizing the law, so that legal institutions can regain public trust. For without a legal system whose decisions are widely respected, democracies will be left with no way of resolving disputes but the one shared by dictatorships and anarchies – plain old-fashioned brute force.

    Reprinted with permission from

  2. @ Edgar G.:Edgar, if you do not care for my posts, views or how I write kindly ignore my posts. I have no interest in trading barbs or insults or being lectured to. If you want to debate a point of view fine.

  3. @ Edgar G.:
    Point you missed is that in-spite of the eloquent argument by Dershowitz and Caroline Glick, the government has a strong case for bribery in Case 4000, based on the indictment.

  4. @ Bear Klein:

    Bear…we are perfectly capable of looking up the definition af “bribery” on the internet ourselves. You are far too good to us, pedantically loading us with unwanted and dreary information that we learned about when still eating baby food… About time to quit doing it.

    You should stop crouching over this site like a spider, ready to grab every opportunity to dispense information that we have already read in the outlet you picked it up from.
    Being boring is far worse than being irritating .

  5. What is Bribery

    Bribery often occurs when a person offers money or something else of value to a public official for the purpose of gaining influence over him or her. The purpose of bribery is to exert influence or pressure over the official’s actions. Bribery is a crime for which both parties may be charged.

    When one looks at the alleged facts in the indictment for case 4000. It appears that Bibi went to great lengths to change regulations to favor Bezeq’s business interests in a manner that harmed the public in exchange for something of value. It can be argued he received free advertising on the Walla website second largest publication (owned by Bezeq) with the posting of a video created by Likud for election purposes for Israel’s for a whole day.

    I hope his lawyer’s can convince the judge that this was not the case. Frankly if he did what is charged his hands are very dirty and can not be ignored like 1000s of cigars or Champagne can be, even if he did official favors for those giving him the presents.

    I agree with Martin, that in case 1000 perhaps the penalty should be something less than prison. I wished more Israeli politician’s were rich so they would not tempted to take presents worth $100s of thousands of presents. The law in Israel does not allow a public official to accept something worth more than ~$70 without reporting it and giving it to the state.

    Case 2000 seems the weakest.

  6. In addition to confirming Dr. Sherman’s critique of the disasterous impact of Mendelblit’s monkeyshines on Israeli democracy,Caroline Glick’s latest column in Israel Hayom maintains that Mendelblit has paralyzed Israel from taking action to protect its national security from the increasing threat from Iran.

    Caroline B. Glick
    Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”

    Home Opinions
    The split screen
    Circumstances provide an opportunity for Israel to use the chaos in Iran to its advantage. But our government is incapable of fulfilling its duty because Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has decided that almost all activities require his prior approval.

    by Caroline B. Glick Published on 11-29-2019 12:30 Last modified: 11-29-2019 11:19
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    Watching events unfold in Israel is an experience in split-screen living. On the right side of the screen is the chaos outside our gates, in neighboring lands. And on the left side of the screen is the chaos inside.

    On the left side of the screen on Tuesday, 15,000 Israelis gathered Tuesday evening outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to demand legal justice for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the face of what they view as an anti-democratic usurpation of the political power by Israel’s legal fraternity. They were condemned by the Left, by the legal fraternity and its court reporters as enemies of the “rule of law.”

    On the right side of the screen, the streets of every major city in Iran were ablaze with protests as the people called out “Death to the Dictator” only to be greeted by the dictator Ali Khamenei’s shock forces. On his orders, the security forces responded to the protesters’ demands for freedom with live fire and mass arrests.

    Follow Israel Hayom on Facebook and Twitter

    In normal times, the top story of the day for the past month would have been the story on the right side of the screen. The Iranian regime’s internet blackout didn’t stop the protests. According to opposition sources, anti-regime protests have spread to every Iranian province. Every socioeconomic class, every ethnic, religious and national group has joined them. The Iranian people have taken to the streets and demanded the overthrow of their regime despite the brutal violence the regime is using to repress them. According to opposition sources, by Tuesday, regime forces had killed 450 demonstrators and arrested between 7,000 and 10,000 people.

    The protests in Iran were preceded and are now taking place in tandem with similar protests in Iran’s colonies Iraq and Lebanon. It is too early to know where they will lead. But what is clear enough is that current circumstances provide an opportunity for Israel to act in multiple ways to increase the instability and weakness of its most dangerous and powerful enemy. The Iranian regime, replete with its terror armies and nuclear installations, has never been in greater danger of losing its grip on power.

    In normal times, a full screen of anti-regime protests in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon would be followed by full screens of security cabinet meetings. We would see Facebook and Telegram videos of Netanyahu speaking in Farsi directly to the Iranian people and expressing solidarity with their aspirations for freedom. In response to requests by Iranian opposition forces, the government would restore Farsi-language Voice of Israel radio broadcasts, directly into Iran.

    In a full-screen reality, we would have seen a more serious response to the statements that US Central Command leader General Kenneth McKenzie made to The New York Times last Saturday. In remarks to the paper, the US commander responsible for the Middle East said that the possibility Iran will attack the Gulf states and Israel has risen.

    In the event, the Israeli response was limited to a statement Sunday by Netanyahu. On a tour of the Golan Heights with IDF commanders Sunday morning, Netanyahu said that Israel is fully committed to preventing Iran from attacking it.

    In normal times, a statement like McKenzie’s would have been followed by a sudden trip to Washington by Israel’s defense minister to visit with his counterpart at the Pentagon.

    Our times are not normal times. We are relegated to living in a split-screen reality because our government is incapable of carrying out any real action. Its paralysis is not the result of its status as an interim government. Israel has been living under an interim government for some time now. And its members, including the prime minister, have shown no aversion to doing their job responsibly.

    The reason our government is incapable of fulfilling its duty, particularly on issues of strategic importance, is because Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has decided that almost all government activities require his prior approval.

    And Mendelblit is a very busy man.

    Mendelblit is not focused on the strategic and national challenges facing Israel and its interim government as one might expect in light of his arrogation of all significant powers of government decision making to himself.

    Mendelblit’s main focus today is criminalizing Israel’s elected leaders and all but nullifying the authorities and powers of the political system. For instance, last Thursday Mendelblit held a prime-time press briefing where he announced that he intends to indict the prime minister. The law actually bars him from indicting the prime minister, at least for the next several months.

    According to Israel’s Immunity Law, before submitting an indictment of a prime minister or member of Knesset to a court, the attorney general must first submit it to the Knesset’s House Committee. The House Committee is charged with deciding whether or not to grant immunity to officeholders pending indictment.

    There is currently no House Committee. It cannot be convened until after a government is formed. So under the law, Mendelblit is barred from indicting Netanyahu.

    Announcing his intention to indict Netanyahu at a politically sensitive time when he lacks power to do so was not the only way Mendelblit has displayed his lack of concern for the law. In the days that followed his announcement, his office announced that Mendelblit was convening a meeting with his top aides to decide whether or not to fire Netanyahu.

    Here too, Mendelblit has no legal authority to fire Netanyahu. According to Israel’s Basic Law: The Government, the only legal authority empowered to remove the prime minister from office is the Supreme Court. And the court can do so only in one circumstance. If a lower court convicts the Prime Minister of crimes and the Supreme Court upholds the conviction, then it can demand that the prime minister resign from office. Mendelblit manifestly has no power or authority to do so.

    But when Mendelblit announced Monday that he “decided” to permit Netanyahu to remain in office despite the indictment, (which again, he has not carried out), none of the fawning legal reporters noted that he had no authority to even consider the option of removing him from office. Instead, they presented his “decision” as proof of Mendelblit’s objectivity and fairness.

    And Mendelblit still wasn’t finished.

    Less than 24 hours after he – in his infinite forbearance – announced that he was “permitting” Netanyahu to continue to serve as prime minister, news reports began streaming in that he intends to “indict” Health Minister Yakov Litzman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri shortly. And again, as with Netanyahu, so with Deri and Litzman, so long as there is no House Committee, Mendelblit cannot indict them. But then, the legal limits on his power are not Mendelblit’s concern.

    Were Mendelblit limiting his power plays to his bids to criminalize the government and the political system, it would be bad enough. But he’s not. He has also given himself the power to veto strategic decisions.

    In the lead up to the election in September for instance, Mendelblit reportedly nixed Netanyahu’s plan to order a military operation in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’s missile attack on Ashdod.

    What were the considerations that informed Mendelblit’s decision? Who empowered him to decide? Was he right or wrong? Did his decision advance or harm Israel’s strategic interests?

    There’s no way of knowing. But it is clear enough that with Mendelblit now effectively the only person in Israel with the power to make such decisions, Israel will not take advantage of Iran’s current weakness. And in the meantime, a month into the protests, Mendelblit has kept our leaders in a state of strategic paralysis, Iran has regrouped and Wednesday announced that it will be holding joint wargames with the Chinese and Russian armies.

    As expected, politicians on the Left were quick to condemn the protesters at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Like the lawyers and the media, the politicians accused them of demonstrating against, “the rule of law,” and endangering Israeli “democracy.”

    But the truth is that most of the politicians condemning them were being cynical. They know the protesters are right. They know that the current situation is untenable.

    As a senior columnist at Yedioth Ahronoth put it in May 2008, they understand that Israel simply cannot continue to function as an “investigatocracy.”

    In his article, “Investigatocracy,” then star columnist and current Blue and White Co-Chairman Yair Lapid noted that four prime ministers in a row – Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Olmert – had been subjected to criminal probes during their tenure in office. He said presciently that it was a foregone conclusion Olmert’s successor would similarly be investigated. To end this state of affairs, Lapid argued that the Knesset needed to pass a law along the lines of standing legislation in France and Italy which bar police from investigating serving prime ministers.

    Lapid wrote, “This may perhaps sound a bit undemocratic. But what is happening now is much less democratic. Instead of majority rule, we have rule by criminal complainants.”

    What happened to Lapid since then? Why didn’t he introduce that legislation when he entered Knesset in 2013? Why did he instead become Netanyahu’s antagonist? It is Lapid after all who has used Mendelblit’s criminal probes of the premier as a justification for blocking the formation of a unity government between Likud and Blue and White.

    And what happened to all the other politicians, like President Reuven Rivlin who once argued passionately for restraining what he referred to as Israel’s “rule of law mafia”?

    Today Rivlin is among the legal fraternity’s greatest cheerleaders.

    Lapid and Rivlin and their colleagues all know there is only one way to restore the power of Israel’s political system and return the legal fraternity to its proper proportions. The Knesset needs to pass laws to reform the system.

    But as the problem grows more acute from year to year, our politicians fail to join forces to restore their powers.

    It’s easy to explain their change of heart. Rivlin, Lapid and their colleagues suffer from a combination of cowardice and opportunism. They rightly fear that the prosecutors and police investigators will place them under criminal investigation if they support legal reform bills.

    As for opportunism, why would an opposition politician stick his neck out for the prime minister or a government minister? Why would they fight for the prerogatives of their political rivals when those are seized by unelected prosecutors? It’s much safer and politically expedient to condemn their rivals as crooks while clucking sanctimoniously about the moral imperative to stand for the “rule of law.”

    And so we have arrived at our split-screen reality. On one side, the Iranians, Lebanese and Iraqis are taking to the streets and demanding the overthrow of Israel’s most dangerous enemy. And on the other side, Israeli voters are taking to the streets to demand that their ballots be respected.

    So long as our politicians are motivated by cowardice and opportunism, the Israeli public will be powerless to affect either side of the screen.