Benjamin Netanyahu’s followers are already referred to as “bibists,” a derogatory nickname, in the mouths of his haters, one of several nicknames designed to demean and ridicule anyone who believes Netanyahu is a worthy leader of the State of Israel, even if he is not at the helm. The phrase “rivals” has long since disappeared, and has already passed from political discourse.
Although Netanyahu failed in his attempts to form a government, it seems that his public status, by law, did not push him into a corner. On the contrary, his successor has been prime minister for almost three months, but in the opinion of many commentators, and not Netanyahu fans, at least one public, personal, one flaw can be identified in Naftali Bennett: he has so far failed in his efforts to disguise himself as another: Netanyahu.
No matter what step Bennett takes, whether in the fight against Corona or on the occasion of his appearance before the UN General Assembly, the commentators will pull out the comparison that was already a language routine: “But he, Bennett, is not Netanyahu.” Bennett is reminiscent of Netanyahu, “there is no doubt that at that time a quiet sigh of relief was heard, especially on Bennett’s part, similar to the well-being of a mountain climber who reached the summit.
Netanyahu has also been found in the past to have a resemblance between him and Ben-Gurion, when he passed the first prime minister in office. And in the past we also had a leader who literally begged in public to compare his status to that of his predecessor. The third prime minister, Levi Eshkol, shouted, begging Ben-Gurion, during a crisis in their party: “Give me credit!”
Bennett does not make such an outcry, but it seems that opinion leaders are bothering him when they recognize his efforts to resemble Netanyahu, or to distance himself from it in a public, even political, sense. “He is like Netanyahu” or “without resemblance to Netanyahu,” are words that paint the paper of the public-political litmus, according to which any thought or deed of Prime Minister Bennett will be evaluated.
For now, there is no sign that Netanyahu’s shadow is about to disappear from clinging to Bennett. The conclusion, in our opinion, is one: Naftali Bennett is not yet treading his own path. The cloak of the leader has not yet been placed on his shoulder. Bennett is walking, but the shadow is still close to him, as is the way of nature. And the opinion leaders are really right: while bothering to emphasize the difference or similarity between Netanyahu and Bennett, they strike a chord with the public. This may be a clear sign that a significant portion of the public would have preferred Netanyahu at the wheel. This preference is now impossible, and therefore it may be appropriate for the public to find a replacement: but on the condition that he be like Netanyahu.