Unlike King George VI who inspired his people in its hours of despair, ‘King Bibi” added to his people’s despair by smearing judicial overhaul protestors as misguided and uncivil delinquents

By David E. Kaplan

At 11.00am on Israel’s ‘National Day of Paralysis’ when hundreds of thousands of people from across the country were converging on the Supreme Court and Knesset in Jerusalem, and Bibi was preparing to get to Ben Gurion Airport to visit the UK, I was attending the unveiling of a good friend at a cemetery in Ra’anana some 30 days after his sad and untimely passing. One of the first tributes about the late Danny was that if he were alive today, he would, if he could, “even in his wheel-chair and oxygen tank”, be in Jerusalem protesting with those masses.

Such is the ‘Passion of the People’ against what is happening in Israel today, that it permeates Israeli gravesites.

Bibi has long since been treating his premiership as his throne; his family as royalty, and any attempts to ‘dethrone’ him, as tantamount to treason to be countered by any means possible.  Morality and ethics does not come into play – only survival, personal survival. Yes he has in the past “done good for Israel” but what he is now doing is neither good for Israel nor good for the Jewish world. Worse – as he is constantly cautioned and counselled – it could prove catastrophic for Israel’s security, its economy and even its global status. An early warning sign on all three of these concerns was its unsettling of the monumental Abrahams Accords – one of Bibi’s star achievements, which could end up before all our eyes a “falling star”!

The build-up to Bibi’s speech was in itself telling. We knew he was going to speak but we did not know when or what he would say. To paraphrase ‘The Great Barb’, “To suspend or not to suspend, that is the question,” was on most people’s minds. And even if he did suspend the rush to vote in the Knesset on one of the core components of the controversial judicial overhaul, the next thought was: “What is his game plan?”

In the minds of the protestors, the commodity in short was  –TRUST.

 “Were totally out of stock!” 

And it appears it will remain so after ‘The King’s Speech’.

Peddling to Peddlers. When looking for support, ‘King Bibi’ goes on a royal tour of Jerusalem’s famed market, Machanei Yehuda.

The words that flowed from Bibi as he stood solemnly at the podium had only one effect on me – revulsion.

Imperious, King Bibi began by posing as wise King Solomon who  three thousand years earlier, “here in Jerusalem,” faced in a famously biblically recoded judgment two mothers who came before him claiming a baby as theirs’. While Bibi continued that “King Solomon commanded that a sword be brought and that the baby be cut in half,” and that “one woman was prepared to render the baby in two while the other woman absolutely refused and insisted that the infant stay alive and whole”,  we knew where this was leading.  

While King Solomon was wisely  seeking the truth, to separate the true mother from the false pretender, Bibi, on the other hand, was cunningly arming himself with the Bible to defame much of the people of Israel.

It was sickening and despicable. 

Like a conniving smooth-talking charlatan,  the Prime Minister went on:

Today as well, both sides in the national controversy claim to love the infant, to love our country,” and like King Solomon being aware so “I am aware of the enormous tension that is building between the two sides.”

Israel at a Crossroad. An aerial view shows protesters attending a demonstration against the Israeli government’s judicial overhaul, in Jerusalem, March 27, 2023(credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

In other words, while Bibi’s judicial overhaul supporters are the “true mother”,  the one responsible for causing this tension  – of splitting the nation today like splitting the baby of 3000 years ago – are the irresponsible protestors. Asserts King Bibi:

There is an extremist minority that is prepared to tear our country to pieces. It is using violence and incitement, it is threatening to harm elected officials, it is stoking civil war, and it is calling for refusal to serve, which is a terrible crime.”

Terrible crime?

The hypocrisy of this man, when his so-called democratic coalition is only being held together by the extreme theocrats who advocate for their followers to defiantly NOT SERVE IN THE ISRAELI ARMY!

Road Revolt. In counter demonstration, Bibi supporters of overhauingl the judiciary, hold Likud flags and signs reading “high court dictatorship”.(Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times)

Is it any wonder that his words stir a bile reaction?

Characterising the opponents of his judicial overhaul as an “extremist minority”  because by his reasoning, the vast majority voted for him in the last election, is it any wonder he is not believed beyond his diehard sycophants when he says he only wants “to strengthen democracy.”

With the credibility today of a snake-oil salesman hawking his questionable wares, anything and everything about Bibi today is questionable.

Taking the High Road. Israelis block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during a protest against the government’s planned judicial overhaul on March 26, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

While defaming those that are opposing his assault on democracy, Bibi had only praise to his protestors who arrived later in the day and who he warmly addressed as “… not second-class citizens. I appreciate that you turned out today in the streets of our capital in order to make your democratic voice heard. Nobody will silence your voice, our voice.

I must say something else: You came spontaneously, unorganized and unfinanced, not pushed by the media, with all your heart and soul. You have touched me.”


What outright lies.

The protest was organized by right-wing groups  that included Regavim, Im Tirzu, Ad Kan, Bezalmo and Torat Lehima. What’s more, advertisements for the protest that were published online stating that the Right is in an “emergency situation,” warning that “they will not steal the elections from us” were shared on Twitter by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir who added:  

today we stop being silent. Today is the day the Right wakes up. Share it forward.”

And these very protestors who King Bibi so fondly admired and refers to them as “our voice” held up signs reading:

 “leftist traitors”, “Kahana was right”, “I am a second class citizen” and “they’re stealing the election from us.”

It is so frightening and sickening that even high-profile defenders of Israel have spoken out. These range from former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said Israel’s government was “courting disaster” and Miriam Adelson, wife of the late American casino magnate and a mega Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, who said Netanyahu’s hasty rush to enact changes was “naturally suspect” and that “bad motivations never bring good outcomes” to David Friedman, the former US ambassador to Israel who is close to Netanyahu, describing the past few days and weeks as “one of the hardest things I’ve had to watch”.  He continued:

We see the whole of Israel as a miracle and as something that is at the core of our Jewishness, and watching that social fabric disintegrate was more painful than if Israel were attacked by an enemy from the outside.”

Black-Eyed Bibi. Following the Prime Minister and his partners bringing the country to the brink of “civil war” (his own words) through their race to take political control of the courts, Netanyahu addresses the nation temporarily suspending the judicial overhaul bills before the Knesset.

Bibi’s speech exposed where he is taking this country under his mismanagement. I disdain to use the word leadership, for this ship -of-state has his passenger understandably paranoid – an unsteady captain and an unstable crew and no one too sure whose hands are on the wheel!  Is it any wonder why we collide daily into avoidable icebergs?

If there was any doubt in the minds of level-headed citizens of Israel – irrespective of their politics – why this judicial overhaul must stop, it is evident in the score card to date of this three-month coalition government under Netanyahu. Bibi has botched it.

The glaring incompetence and clumsiness that characterises Bibi’s coalition shows exactly why Israel needs a STRONG and INDEPENDANT judiciary – to protect the country from THEM!

While there is much controversy over President Joe Biden nixing inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu anytime soon to the White House, I myself don’t blame him.

Once seen as Israel’s savior  and now little more than a cynical politician who will stop at nothing to retain his power, I would not have him over at my house either!

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

8 thoughts on ““THE KING’S SPEECH”

  1. David apart from your personal attacks on our Prime Minister you have provided no proof whatsoever that the elected government has no right to have a say in the appointment of Judges as is a common practice in many democratic countries
    In the current system we have unelected judges who elect themselves overriding the legislation of an elected democratic government This is the issue you should be adressing

    1. David E. Kaplan: That is not correct Ben. Judges are selected by the Judicial Selection Committee which is composed of nine members: the Minister of Justice (Chair), (which at present and for much of the last 20 years would likely be Likud), another cabinet minister (again could be Likud or coalition partner), the President of the Supreme Court, two other justices of the Supreme Court, two Members of Knesset, and two representatives of the Israel Bar Association. While this may still not be your ideal, if offers the protection against a wayward government and the protection of minority wights in the absence in Israel of a Constitution and a second tier of government – like an Upper House or Senate, which democracies like the US and UK enjoy. All we have is the Supreme Court, which this coalition wants to so weaken that it has a free hand to pursue policies that it has not disclosed, but based on performance of the last three months, would likely be detrimental to the Jewish state. Is this what you want?

    2. The personal attacks are necessary, fair and honest. How can any upright person who loves Israel and the Jewish people come to any other conclusion that the PM is not worthy.

  2. What I want is for this lack of trust name calling and Sinat chinam and violent demonstrations to stop I want a fair compromise to be reached The judges as it stands prevent the elected government from doing what they were elected for There will still be reasonable checks and balances

    1. Pray tell us all about these ‘checks and balances’ – could they be the power of the politicians to overturn a ruling of the court appointed with politicised judges?

    2. David Kaplan: Firstly, Ben, are you not “name calling” by falsely tarnishing the demonstrations as “violent”? I have been a participant at nearly every Saturday night protest since it began, and I can vouch they have all been peaceful and totally Zionist orientated with Israeli flags and the singing of Hatikvah. Can you say the same about those attending government supporting demonstrations? Secondly, how can you substantiate there will be “check and balances”, unless you are referring to the “word” of present Prime Minister and his coalition partners!!! This is why there needs to be a broad study of the issue before brought to the Knesset for a vote.

  3. Netanyahu’s legacy, for all the good he’s done will be remembered for his deceit and deception – to quote the Bard:
    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The EVIL that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;

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