December 7, 2023

The warning letters sent out by the state commission of inquiry into last year’s deadly stampede at Mount Meron read like voices from the past. They’re fossilized relics of another era, the one before Benjamin Netanyahu.
They remind us of ideas long forgotten – responsibility, planning, management, oversight, statesmanlike behavior. During the hearings, commission members asked all manner of bizarre questions regarding discussions, coordination, reports and lessons learned. This is naivete. They even maintain their right to recommend sanctions against the people responsible.
They think they’re the Agranat Commission after the 1973 Yom Kippur War or the Kahan Commission after the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre. Nobody told them that everything changed during the Netanyahu era. Everything was destroyed and corrupted beyond recognition.
So this is a resounding reminder to anyone who finds the upcoming election boring and says the campaign puts them to sleep: You’ll go to sleep with Yair Lapid and wake up with Benjamin Netanyahu. You’ve been warned.
Mount Meron is Netanyahu’s Israel. It really is “The Mountain That Was as a Monster,” to borrow the title of historian Yigal Kipnis’ book about the Golan Heights. What happened at last year’s Lag Ba’omer festivities, which turned into a horrific civilian disaster, is the embodiment of all the ills of Netanyahu and his eunuchs.
Political interests took precedence over national ones. Personal concerns trumped public ones. The public security minister and the police commissioner were appointed based on the Netanyahu family’s needs. Everybody fawned over and capitulated to the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. The ultra-Orthodox were autonomous. There was contempt for human life, good government and the state’s basic responsibility for its citizens’ welfare and fate.
Everything was shoddy, careless and fragile; it fell apart easily. A mass event was just a place to get a photo taken and have it posted on Twitter. And when the catastrophe happened, a mass flight ensued.
Suddenly there was no more “I ordered,” “I instructed,” “I led,” “I achieved.” The prime minister, who found a supertanker on Google during the Mount Carmel forest fire of 2010 and ran to Ben-Gurion Airport to be photographed with a shipment of Pfizer vaccines during the pandemic, suddenly became a present absentee. I didn’t know, I didn’t see, I didn’t hear, I don’t remember, nobody told me. What a charlatan.
In the Netanyahu era, people do everything in their power to avoid the establishment of a commission of inquiry. When one is formed, they stand before it and sow confusion; look up “small-mindedness” in the dictionary. And the moment the warning letters are sent out, so too are the talking points, and the poison machine goes on the offensive. It’s all done by the book.
First comes indulging in self-pity and playing the victim. “Since the state was founded, no state commission of inquiry has ever sent warning letters to candidates during an election campaign,” the machine said. “It’s regrettable that the commission established by the Bennett-Lapid government chose to do so.” In other words, more talk about fabricated cases and witch hunts.
The Likud party and its leader, Netanyahu, are once again claiming that there was no justification for forming a commission of inquiry into this national failure. Well, of course it was the government headed by Lapid and Naftali Bennett that established the commission; the puppet government that preceded it refused to do so.
And an election campaign? A criminal defendant has dragged the country into its fifth election in three and a half years to avoid standing trial, and then he complains that things are being done during an election campaign. If he hadn’t toppled the government by luring Idit Silman from the coalition, he wouldn’t have received his letter during a campaign.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen a deluge of smears against the commission’s members. It’s unbelievable. A retired senior judge; a major general in the reserves who, after retiring from the army, managed huge corporations like Makhteshim and Teva; a rabbi who was mayor of Bnei Brak and also served on three public committees addressing various national problems (the Tal, Dovrat and Alalouf committees).
With what speed these public servants have been placed at the mercy of a crime group’s hit men. We can only imagine what late Supreme Court President Miriam Naor was spared by dying when the commission, which she chaired, was still in its early days. Netanyahu’s son Yair would have shown her what was what.
At least we’ve been spared talk of a coup to topple a sitting opposition leader, so far anyway. And in two months this whole nightmare could repeat. Wake up.

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