Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

Around 6.00pm on Thursday evening in Israel, the news broke that Trump had convinced Abu Dhabi to sign a peace treaty with Jerusalem. With a slight of hand, Israel’s PM, Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) had outflanked both his right-wing opposition and the Palestinians. Ironical, eh!. And his sagging popularity flipped back upwards.

However, for Bibi that was not the main talking point of the week. I am not talking about how he quietly postponed his annexation plans. Nor am I referring to the threat of yet more elections, which he was also forced to take off the table, for now.

The key issue for Bibi was and remains his upcoming trial in January 2021. This is the trial that Bibi said would never need to come about, because there was no evidence. However, the police force and the country’s legal system, both led by his own appointees, have argued that there are no less than three (for now) cases to answer.

So in the same week of this wonderful news about peace, we learnt of three moves by the Netanyahu camp to block his trial. In no order of importance:

  1. His wife, Sara Netanyahu, claimed that she had been the target of verbal violence. Personally, I found her remarks unusual in light of the demeaning comments her husband had thrown at a female celeb in a recent election campaign. And she had little to say about her son’s vitriol over various female journalists.
  2. It came to light that Deputy State Attorney Liat Ben-Ari, who ‘by chance’ happens to be Bibi’s chief prosecutor, will be investigated for possibly illegally renovating an investment property. Funny how this came to light in a media source that is closely identified to the Netanyahu group.
  3. We must not forget the PM’s own bitter speech directed at the Attorney-General. Unprecedented.

I cannot believe that these incidents are not linked. But now add in two pieces of background information. First, the Netanyahu team is complaining that it does not have enough lawyers to manage the case workload, maybe because they are too busy creating alternative spin in the minds of the electorate? Second, they claim not to have the financial resources to mount a full response, even thought the key defendant himself is estimated to have amassed a personal wealth of tens of millions of dollars.

What does this all add up to?

Hopefully, the second wave of corona is almost under control, although another 8 people sadly died over the Sabbath. The economy is contracting by the second, well below the worst depths predicted by the central planners. Terrorists in Gaza are continue to send over incendiary devices in balloons.

I would not accuse the PM of being complacent about any of these issues. But they are not central.

What is pertinent – in fact, what is the only things that matters – is ensuring that his trial does not start in January, by almost any means. The rest of us citizens are worth less than pawns in this personal gam of power-keeping.

Whatever Bibi’s next move, the core motive will feature the January 2021. The Holy Land indeed!

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