It is not mere coincidence that as President Trump’s impeachment inquiry was raging in the Intelligence Congressional Committee, across the ocean, in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu was indicted on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Mr. Mandelblit happened to be an old friend and appointee of Prime Minister Netanyahu. The latter fact made the story even harder to swallow. Unfortunately, this is the state of politics in 2019.
It is more than just polarized partisanship. It is more than overheated rhetoric. It is more than exhausting 24-hour news cycles. It is more than social media overload.
Having witnessed firsthand this phenomenon, I can tell you it is ripping the very fabric of America, Israel, and our humanity apart. It is cruel and unusual punishment that anyone in public life now endures or will in the future have to deal with. It will turn away good, decent people from entering the political arena. To call it a slugfest does not do it justice. To call it unmitigated hatred is an understatement.
If they can’t beat you at the ballot box, then why not try to destroy you personally with imaginary tales and fictional realities? I am afraid this is precisely what is happening both in America and Israel.
In the past, public figures for the most part just called it a day and closed up shop. In the present day, because the truth is buried beneath piles and piles of rubbish, strong leaders like President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu counterpunch and dig in for the long haul. The voters see more clearly than the media and will ultimately decide their fate.
The impeachment saga has actually boosted President Trump and made his winning a second term more likely. The Democrats have actually taken note and have begun to pull back the reins a little.
The indictment of Prime Minister Netanyahu has not had quite the same effect. It has made the third election more difficult to call. If Israel had a direct election for prime minister, which might indeed be the outcome of the stalemate in Israeli politics, then Prime Minister Netanyahu would win easily. Unfortunately, the third election scheduled in January is no sure thing. Once again Avigdor Lieberman plays the role of bête noire and spoiler. The Arabs will gain even more seats since they have learned a thing or two since the Knesset was organized 70 years ago. Once again I personally make a plea to Avigdor Lieberman for the sake of the Jewish people to give up your defiant stance and join with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was responsible for bringing you into politics in the first place.
Hopefully, both America and Israel will learn that attacking a public figure with exaggerated claims and charges, untruths, and outright hatred will not be in the best interest of our civilization. It brings us all down. We all bear responsibility for what is tearing us apart. Our real enemies are rejoicing at our chaotic behavior. It is high time to wake up and stop the madness.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.