The Prime Minister identifies in Bennett and Saar figures who may threaten him, so he accuses them of subversion that has never happened • Netanyahu's entourage does not understand his part in this conflict • To save the people from fifth elections, Netanyahu must carry out binding political actions,
Until a few years ago, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked about his relations with his political rivals, he used to quote his father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu.
"My father advised me to avoid personal conflicts in politics. 'You will have enough ideological conflicts,'" Netanyahu said on behalf of the late father.
Photo: Gil Kramer
Photo: Gil Kramer
In recent years, it seems that Prof. Netanyahu's old recommendation has been forgotten.
Since Naftali Bennett entered politics in 2013, Netanyahu has waged a bitter battle against him.
The ideological gaps between the two are negligible, so the motive for the war is purely personal.
The same is true of Gideon Saar, who found himself outside the Likud only because of Netanyahu's personal resentment towards him.
The Prime Minister identifies in Bennett and Saar figures who may threaten him.
He therefore accuses the two of subversion that has never happened.
In these personal conflicts lies the political paralysis that prevents the formation of a government in Israel.
At least half of Saar's voters are right-wingers who ended Netanyahu's vengeful conduct.
If Netanyahu had maintained Saar's dignity, at least two of those seats two weeks ago would have been a laxative at the ballot box.
The same is true of Bennett. If Netanyahu had not blocked Bennett from joining the Likud at the time, it is likely that the chairman of the right would be one of the party's leaders today.
If Netanyahu had not come down to particularly ugly personal leaks against Bennett's family members, it is quite clear that his young son would not be debating which bloc to choose today.
It is difficult for Netanyahu and his people to hear this, but Bennett is a right-wing man just like Gideon Saar, and just like Netanyahu himself.
In conversations I have had in recent days with the prime minister's immediate entourage, I have the impression that neither he nor his advisers understand his own part in this terrible conflict.
Although these are serious and intelligent people, they do not seem to see the connection between the cause - the personal battle against Saar and Bennett - and the result, the two's refusal to swear allegiance to Netanyahu, even though they are flesh and blood of the right.
Somewhat strangely, both Netanyahu and his advisers start the story from the middle, from the counter-war of the two former associates.
What is the point of going back and engaging now in the past?
The answer is that only a cure for the root of the conflict, that is, the end of the war on the part of the one who declared it, can pave the way for a solution.
The people of Netanyahu should stop telling themselves and the world that Saar, Bennett or Elkin, are just little traitors who only take care of the chair.
They must understand and internalize that their former partners believe in their way, just as they believe in Netanyahu.
To change attitudes, Netanyahu and his immediate entourage need to attach significant personal gestures and binding political actions, in order to restore even a little of the trust that has long since collapsed between him and the two on whom his fate now depends.
Only the beginning of a healing process now on the part of Netanyahu, perhaps in a month or two, may lead to a compromise on the part of Saar and his people.
Without real steps on Netanyahu's part, either a different government will be formed here, or we will reach a fifth election in which he may suffer an even harder blow.