Last Monday, in New York, did Prime Minister Naftali Bennett miss in front of an empty gate? Instead of scoring a winning goal, did he score a goal himself? The table does not lie: instead of talking about the rather successful virgin speech he delivered before the UN plenum, they are talking about the brawl between him and the Ministry of Health.
Is he dragged into a confrontation with the professionals in the Ministry of Health at the wrong time, in the wrong place and in the wrong arena? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because that’s what actually happened. No, because I’m not sure this is not a pre-planned and orchestrated prank. That is, that Bennett meant exactly that. If this is true, it’s sad.
That is not why Naftali Bennett came to the Prime Minister’s Office. We’ve had one like this for the last 12 years: a six-fight battle, pouncing on every stump of credit and a coupon tail, a man of quarrel and contempt disparaging public servants and not seeing anyone from a shower. Netanyahu only knew how to talk about himself, leaving behind scorched earth. Bennett promised a change government. His attack on senior Ministry of Health officials is not a change, but an imitation. This is exactly what Netanyahu would have done. So what did we do?
Contrary to urban legend, the speech itself did not involve any attack on any experts. It contained one sentence, balanced and precise, that the professionals advise but the decision is up to the elected leadership. The problem was in a briefing for journalists given by the Prime Minister afterwards. There, after untying the tie, he also untied the reins and made a cruel and unnecessary round on Dr. Sharon Elrai Price and her friends in the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Sharon Elrai Price (Photo: Yonatan Zindel, Flash 90)
At first I thought it was, again, good advice he got from his aggressive strategist, Moshe Klughaft. But Klugeft parted ways with Bennett (for good) a week earlier, and his associates denied any connection to what happened in New York. On the other hand, Bennett does not really need Klugeft to plan such a maneuver. In character, he strives for touch, offensiveness, does not shy away from confrontations and out-of-the-box thinking.
This was the case when he overthrew the prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and the entire cabinet during a solid cliff, broke the rules, met with brigades, gathered information independently and put brutal pressure on the system to advance the operation to thwart the tunnels. So, it was true and vital. Today, it is unnecessary. You’re already prime minister, Mr. Bennett. You do not have to fight for your place and your positions. You determine. You need to demonstrate respectful leadership. To lead, but not to humiliate.
About two months ago, Bennett made a difficult and courageous decision. Up to this moment, its final results are not yet clear, but there is a sign of victory. He decided not to blink, to gallop forward with the third thrust shot (the “booster”) with all his might, and not to impose any restrictions. He heard the whips of prophecy, from Netanyahu to the south, screaming about the terrible closure that is expected of the people of Israel during the Tishrei holidays.
He knew that such a closure would be a crushing defeat. Instead of retreating to regroup, he rushed forward. He managed to break the morbidity graph at the time of the injuries, on the buzzer. Therefore, there was now no reason for this spoilage with the unnecessary conflict with the professional echelon of the Ministry of Health.
I estimate that from his analysis, the prime minister knows he has already won. The fourth wave is halted, the numbers are going down and will continue to go down as the booster operation progresses. He is now arguing over credit. In his view, the more he sharpens the confrontation with the elusive prices, the greater the reward he will reap when the day comes. The more he sharpens the difference between the alarmism of the professionals and his vision and entrepreneurship, the more his achievement will be leveraged into political capital. And there is nothing that Bennett needs more now, than political capital. Like really breathable air.
So this is, no. He is wrong. This concept is the essence of bibism. There is no need to quarrel over credits. The credits go to whoever comes, and even without the recent confrontation Bennett would have gotten his points because the public is not dumb. Bennett knows he is supposed to be Netanyahu’s negative. That is, the positive. That is, the man who leads in cooperation, in paragon, in embrace. He’s supposed to be a generous winner.
Professionals, almost always, warn and alert and sometimes even amplify the threats. So in confidence, so in health, so in every field. Bennett would have been hired if he had hugged the ill-fated Prussians. It could have been Priceless.
Imagine he would say “Friends, I hear you, I listen to you, you are dedicated and professional, and I take my hat off to you. I have no clue about you. You have to present the risks and chances, but I have to make the decision, and I add the “The parameters that you do not know and accept it. In the hands of the authority, in the hands of the responsibility as well, I thank you for everything, No Hard Peelings, thank you.”
who does not. This is neither the first nor the last mistake the prime minister has made and will make sitting on the most challenging chair in the world. At the time this column was written, Bennett was trying to resolve the crisis in a joint sitting and joint announcement with senior Ministry of Health and Minister Nitzan Horowitz. Next. In the list of Bennett’s shortcomings is also that matter of short thread, and it is to be hoped that he will recognize this point and act to correct it as soon as possible.
When you are prime minister, you do not have the privilege of a short fuse, because your fuse is connected to a thunderbolt that can ignite the entire Middle East. You need to be considerate and reasoned and surrounded by experienced people some of whom can look straight at you and tell you you are wrong.
Ben Caspit’s full column – in Maariv this weekend