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March 4, 2019 8:51 am

I Used to Love Netanyahu, But It’s Time for Him to Go

avatar by Chaim Landau

Opinion

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Feb. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad / File.

I clearly remember the day that Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel: I was absolutely elated.

Here was a leader who spoke to my heart, and for Jews everywhere. He represented the “I-won’t-take-any-BS” attitude, especially as it applied to foreign bodies like the UN. He also represented the State of Israel with a toughness and brusqueness not seen for a long time, and he was never afraid to speak his mind publicly as a proud Jew and Israeli. His oratory matched Winston Churchill’s. He was the Jew and Israeli that many of us wish we had become.

Now, 10 years later and weeks before major national elections, Netanyahu stands accused of crimes committed while in office. In truth, should we be surprised? Look at Ehud Olmert and Ezer Weizman, both of whom were also accused of accepting illegal payments. And both left office or resigned under a cloud of great shame and despondency. Furthermore, Netanyahu has been dogged by charges of corruption for years, dating back to his first stint as prime minister in the 1990s.

The recent charges against Netanyahu cast the prime minister in an all-too-familiar pattern.

And now, in a desperate attempt to assure his reelection, Netanyahu has made a deal with the devil, in the form of the Otzma Yehudit party. This is truly a very sad day for Israel and Israel’s politics. With Otzma, we are talking about a fanatical religious party that despises Arabs, whose members have attacked, murdered, and destroyed property belonging to Palestinians, and whose racism and hatred know no limits or bounds.

There was a time when we could be proud of Israel’s leaders, its parties, and its politics. Not today. Ten years into office, Netanyahu has allowed himself to become victim to that old well-stated and over-used cliche: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The real winner in all of this is the State of Israel, and the people of Israel. Once again, they have learned that absolutely no one, not even a prime minister of 10 years’ standing, is above the law. The time has come for Netanyahu to go.

Rabbi Chaim Landau was born in the United Kingdom and is a graduate of Guildford College of Law, Jews College in London and Yeshivat Hamivtar, Jerusalem, where he obtained Smichah. He is Rabbi Emeritus at Ner Tamid Congregation in Baltimore MD where he served for 25 years. He is married to Mindy Landau and has four married children.

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