The lead editorial in today’s Haaretz is titled: “Netanyahu Resorts to Accusations of Treason—Again.”
Here are some excerpts:
“As Election Day nears and the criticism of him mounts, Benjamin Netanyahu is returning to the troubling and threatening patterns of behavior that characterized him during his early years in politics and his first term as prime minister. Once again, he is spouting conspiracy theories and accusing his political rivals of treason.”
“His response returned him to the days when he stood on a balcony in Jerusalem’s Zion Square as the streets below seethed with murderous incitement against then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The victim of his incitement this time was Tzipi Livni, whom Netanyahu accused of being “a danger to the country” …From there, he went on to claim that Livni and her colleague at the head of the Zionist Union ticket, Isaac Herzog, seek to establish a Hamas-run state in the West Bank…Netanyahu’s lies, twisted and worrying though they be, pale beside his depiction of the leaders of a rival party as abettors of terror and dangerous to the country.”
“Netanyahu can’t offer a straight response to substantive criticism of his performance, so he responds to it instead by denying the legitimacy of the people running against him. Such behavior is characteristic of a leader who specializes in incitement, and is liable to lead to another political assassination. It provides yet another answer to the question of why Israel’s government must be replaced.”
However, the New York Times evidently is not a bit worried about the future of Israel. Today’s lead story on Israel, by the ever-predictable Isabel Kershner, is titled: “As Vote Nears, a Not-So-Serious Battle for ‘Likes.’” The story begins: “With a month to go before Israel’s elections on March 17, the race has turned into a context of cheeky online videos.” The rest of the story describes the dueling and mostly cutesy campaign slogans, videos, and social media postings of the contending candidates.
To be sure, the last paragraph of the story does quote Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s criticism of the campaign for not addressing the serious issues. But that hardly makes up for the preceding light-hearted tone and trivializing of the issues of the long Kershner piece.