Why should Netanyahu be seen as an honest politician, what the media and the legal system portray him not to be. ‘Yes Bibi’ is a new call that is gradually gaining ground.
The nation nicknamed him “Bibi,” a name that smoothly slides off the tongue. But in fact his real name is Benyamin Netanyahu. He was the longest reigning Prime Minister the state of Israel has had in its almost 75 years of its commonwealth’s rejuvenation in the Jewish ancestral land of Israel.
As a journalist I became interested in Project 315 when I was introduced to the group’s four members in February 2022.
What fascinated me about these four fair-minded thinkers is their ongoing revelations about what has come to be known about the greatest lies of the last 4-5 years in Israel: ‘Just Not Bibi’ indictments and trial.
As the ongoing trial has been revealing the lies and fabrications about Netanyahu I learned more and more about how aspiration for power in Israel has been eroding its democracy.
In July 2022, while in Israel, I had the pleasure, even the honor, to meet three of Project 315‘s four members: Moshik Kovarsky, an entrepreneur, technologist and a businessman from the city of Ness Ziona, Dr. Adi Szabo, a Psychologist from the city of Haifa and Moshe Mallal, a hi-tech professional from the community of Matan, central Israel.
We sat for an interview in a high-rise office building in the center of the city of Tel Aviv. From the window I could see and grasp the dynamic growth of Israel’s economy. Today, downtown Tel Aviv is a small scale of Manhattan, New York City, with high-rise buildings being erected almost monthly, towering over the four-story residential building blocks of yesteryear Tel Aviv.
Only fifteen years ago that very same view was only 4-story apartment buildings and the only city’s ‘high-rise’ was the Shalom Tower, today dwarfed if compared to the sky-scraping structures I could see from high above.
Our conversational interview, covering many issues, is collated herein.
The Project 315 group and their many followers, also Netanyahu supporters – labeled “Bibistim” – believe that Netanyahu was served wrongly. The efforts to taint his name and ignore the years he served the country well as its Prime Minister are politically motivated; his contributions to the country are taken out of context and for granted and do not serve for the goodness and the betterment of the country and its people.
It is clear that the public in Israel is sharply divided. The “Just not Bibi” camp constantly berates and insults the “Bibistim” camp, taking their attacks as far as accusing Netanyahu’s supporters of being extreme lunatic, verbally violent who could care less if the entire national camp be burned to the ground.
However, the entire subject of ‘yes or no Bibi’ is not Netanyahu himself who is the marker for the Right. Rather, the entire coup against Netanyahu, by legal and media means, is to remove him. If you give up Netanyahu you are giving up on any possible chance, ever, to reform the corrupt governance, mostly the justice system in Israel, which has brought legal charges against Netanyahu that were mostly lies and obfuscation of facts.
The Ongoing Trial
“How do you defend the claim I often hear that at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic Netanyahu shutdown the entire country, including the courthouse, to escape his trial?” I asked.
Adi: “It certainly did not happen. There was no postponement in the trial because of the lockdown, a lie the ‘Just not Bibi camp’ spreads and people bought into it. And they blame Netanyahu for orchestrating all types of manipulations to escape the trial which, again, is untrue. The reality is that each time there is a delay in the trial it is the call of the prosecution or the judges on the case. The only one who can stop the trial, take back the accusation, is the Legal Counsel to the government.”
At the time of our meeting a key witness Hadas Klein was on the stand testifying against Netanyahu.
“What about the Hadas Klein testimony?” I asked
Moshik: “Each time the prosecution calls a witness to the stand to testify against Netanyahu, he or she comes up with all kinds of accusations and stories, some even not pertaining to the trial itself. And then when the defense cross-examines the witness he or she crumbles.”
And Adi adds: “During her testimony Klein made it obvious that she resents Sara Netanyahu, the former first lady. Klein resides in an affluent neighborhood of Tel Aviv or the city suburb where people belong to the “Just not Bibi” camp where she is a queen whether she testifies with truth or disinformation. She bought her place as their savior and they rely much on her to further taint the Netanyahu family’s name. Therefore, she is highly motivated to act upon the expectation she has been assumed to have.”
“And what will happen when Klein faces the defense?” I brought the point.
Adi: “When a witness for the prosecution is on the stand the mainstream media overwhelmingly reports about the trial, filling it with tabloid headlines. However, when the defense gets to cross-examine the same witness the media goes to sleep. The only people who know what is taking place in Netanyahu’s trial are Project 315 social media followers and they are in the thousands, TV channel 14 viewers and viewers of the Open Studio that produces clips of the trial, in real time, direct from the courthouse and with which Project 315 cooperate. The rest of the population do not follow the trial’s development and are the least interested in it. They receive the headlines from the mainstream newspapers and the TV channels and that is as much as they are informed and know.”
How Can The Public Be Better Informed?
“So the public really needs a window to reality and truth, how to do it?” I asked.
My three interviewees agree that one honest journalist who reports on the trial, with much honesty and integrity, is Ayala Hasson-Nesher. On her “Friday” and “The Central Headquarters” News editions, at TV channel News 13 mainstream media, she presents the facts. Subsequently, a large number of viewers follow her and in the process many more people have their eyes opened to the revealed truth.
Apparently, the justice system in Israel is corrupt and evil. The expression in Israel for framing a person is “to ‘saw [a legal] case on him/her'”; on anyone they do not like or they want to destroy.
And What About Financing This Lengthy Trial?
The Netanyahu trial’s legal costs are astronomical. We have already witnessed that people who are caught in the same web of lies and deception and need to defend themselves lose all their financial means and assets in the process.
Adi: “The public donated to Netanyahu’s Defense Fund millions of Shekels. However, the funds are stuck in the bank and he cannot use it. And why? Because the Knesset Ethics Committee needs to give its approval to use these funds and there has been no such functioning committee at the Knesset for over a year.”
The three interviewees mentioned the names of wealthy Jews who live abroad and have business interests in Israel. These people are well connected to Israel’s business and government top-tier echelon and their corrupt interactions are well known.
I then asked: “Why are the people of the country who are informed of such corruption not protesting in the streets?”
Adi: “We, the four of us, Project 315 members, are volunteers. For the past three years, we have participated in every protest; with the flag and signs we protest and there are tens of thousands like us all over the country, while the Right, as a whole, sleeps. But the Left will come in huge numbers, flooding the streets, even to protest the price of cottage cheese. There is something in the makeup of the Right that causes such inaction. One reason is a lack of funds. The Left has endless funds and the Right does not.
“I want to live, to survive. In my opinion, to be a Leftist today is suicidal. The people are abused by the governance system. I think that they got used to being victims of the system.”
Moshik: “Many do not know the facts and they let the constant propaganda lead them to the way they think. Sadly, they also do not want to know the truth. The continuous lies and obfuscation have taken over their critical thinking and they do not budge to know the facts, the truth.”
The “White Tribe” Against Netanyahu
“Who are the ‘White Tribe‘” I asked.
Moshik: “Ashkenazi Jews, secular Jews, socialist-liberals, those whose great-grandparents arrived in Israel at the end of the 19th century; the nouveau riche who live in Israel’s affluent suburbs. And they are all living with fear. Fear of the religious Jews; fear of the Mizrahi (Sephardic) Jews; afraid of the nationalists they see as extremist Jews. But they are not afraid of the Arabs because they have been told, over and over again, that the Arabs are okay, they are peace-loving people; the nationalist camp members for some reason are a danger to their existence.
“For these people, Netanyahu is the greatest traitor. He was supposed to be one of them and he is not; he sits at the table with all those they were told to be afraid of. That is why they hate him so much.
“One other fear is the coalition Netanyahu automatically forms with the religious parties. That type of coalition makes secular-liberal people fear that the country will follow Halachic-religious Jewish law and then, i.e. being a gay or lesbian will become taboo.
“With these fears, people vote for the Left even when on the most important positions for the country they are with the political Right spectrum, i.e. for survival sake, not to allow one other terrorist Arab state – Palestine – to be established in the center of Israel, which the Left wants, but they vote for the Left nevertheless.
“Bottom line, the public reads through the shenanigans. The Right must win the upcoming November 2022 election in order to start making the needed reforms.”
“There are also the ‘uninvolved’ who just do not want to know the truth; they criticize Netanyahu from their living room couch and in social gatherings but have no reality check to base their hate for him.”
Adi: “The hate for Netanyahu is a national psychosis which borders, what I call a sect. For so many years the media has been spreading propaganda; every day they lie with tabloid gossip and take matters out of context, which makes it very difficult not to be influenced and confused by it. And I confess, I was influenced as well and I had no empathy for Netanyahu. But when I became involved I began to see and realize how wrong the entire ‘Just not Bibi’ drive is.”
Is Netanyahu Dishonest or He Is Honest and a Victim of the System?
Moshik: “They exposed in court how much work was put into indicting Netanyahu. The police investigator testified that the entire police unit – The National Unit for the Fight against Economic Crime (abbreviation YALK), some 300 investigators – were working for years on the 4000 case, the corruption affair, and only on this case. The National Fraud Investigation Unit (NAU), with the same number of investigators, worked on cases 1000 and 2000. In total, approximately 600-700 investigators worked, at the cost of the taxpayer, on finding evidence that will bring an indictment against Netanyahu. Adding to it are between 50-100 lawyers representing the prosecution, including sending people all over the world to investigate possible witnesses. The cost to indict Netanyahu is running between 250-500 million Shekel (between $76,869,502-to-$153,739,005). While the very same people were busy looking for crimes to indict Netanyahu, they should have been investigating the real crime family, the Arab crime families that cause havoc in the country. But no, they were after Netanyahu.
“And what did they find after years of investigation? They have an indictment on hand. But is there any proof that Netanyahu received as much as one cent from anyone? NO! They researched bank accounts all over the world to find nothing to accuse Netanyahu of corruption or bribery.
“Netanyahu did receive some media coverage published in some marginal websites, which the prosecution alluded to as a bribe, and also received champagne and cigars that we still do not know how many and at what cost. However, no coverage from the mainstream media, like the Yediot Acharonot newspaper. All of this is the basis for Netanyahu’s indictment after five years of investigation at an incomprehensible cost.
“If you take this amount of money to investigate any other Israeli politician, Shimon Peres z”l or even Yair Lapid, I am prepared to bet you will find some proof to charge with a real indictment.
“That is why, in my opinion, Netanyahu is the most honest politician in Israel.”
Adi: “From our own investigations, we found that Netanyahu is the most careful, even cowardly, and suspicious and thus the cleanest politician in Israel. Each step he takes he makes sure he has all the needed approvals from the lawyers, to make sure it is legal. In fact, though we looked everywhere we could find nothing against Netanyahu.
Where Is the Pragmatism in All of That?
Netanyahu is a very pragmatic and modest person, not an extremist; he is one of the most centrist politicians in Israel which makes it sensible for the entire country to get behind him.
There is however a fallacy that he cannot get along with people. But is it true?
People of high caliber in the Likud to name a few, Amir Ohana, Israel Katz, Yariv Levin, Yoav Gallant, Avi Dichter, Dudi Amsalem, all swear by Netanyahu’s name. One will ask why? Are they politically afraid of him? Not at all. Because in the Likud Party primaries that took place in early August 2022, each one of them ran on his/her own record agenda ticket. The Likud officials, some 130,000, voted for the candidates, and Netanyahu did not make a decision about them. In fact, “Netanyahu is very careful not to play favors with anyone,” says Moshik.
In the end, people vote according to their conscience and whom they think is the best candidate to represent them and that is how a real Democratic Party works.
“At Yair Lapid’s party, ‘Yesh Atid’, this party’s name means there is a future, you position yourself in the party based on how good you are at sucking up to Lapid,” explains Moshik.
Some say that Netanyahu does not get along well with people who work with him; this is an open-ended question. One might point out that Netanyahu is outstandingly brilliant, intelligent, well-read, and with a phenomenal memory. To follow in the footsteps of such a person is difficult, especially for a politician whose second nature is ambition, or, one senses he or she is in his shadow. Possibly, a person like Netanyahu finds it difficult to get close to people. Or, could this hearsay be one more fallacy about the man?
Though Netanyahu is seen as a pragmatist, he did not work on lining up a successor(s) and many people are of that opinion. However, how do you nominate a successor in a democratic party? The record shows that none of Netanyahu’s Israel’s prime ministers predecessors lined up successor(s), which, again, is how a democratic party should work.
Netanyahu could have taken the easy way out. Resign from politics and all charges against him would have been dropped. But no, he keeps on fighting to clear his name. People in Europe say to Israel, if you do not like Netanyahu send him our way, we need such a leader.
Adi: “Netanyahu could have resigned to private life but he does not. He is defending himself in the courts. I am convinced that Netanyahu has a sense of mission to lead the nation for a few more years and to save Israel from the Iranian annihilation threat, which, in his opinion, takes first priority. The Ungratefulness of the people in Israel breaks my heart.
“People blame Netanyahu for being indolent but the truth is that he sleeps a few hours a night and people who work with him attest to him being very diligent.
“Intelligent and educated people have mastered true hate for Netanyahu, they joined what I call the Hate Sect. When I mention his name their face goes red and their mouth foams and you cannot talk any sense with them. This caused me to lose most of my intelligent and educated friends, who upon mentioning the name Netanyahu become evil and fools. Bottom line, they have no brain, the result of the ongoing media brainwashing propaganda.”
If We Do Not Have Partner to Peace, We Go After Corruption
Israeli society is still divided between the Ashkenazi Jews, the “elite” and the Sephardic Jews, the working class. If you are a Sephardic Jew and you want to advance in society you must be progressive. The Ashkenazi “club” is beyond your reach.
Moshe: “When Menachem Begin and the Right came to power, the Labor Party Ashkenazi people shouted, we need to make peace right now. But peace is not yet possible, so they took on a new agenda, corruption, the corruption that apparently did not exist before. And how do they fight corruption? They invest some half a billion Shekels in investigating corruption. And while the chief prosecutor admitted that this entire Netanyahu indictment is a precedent, he also admitted he had to start somewhere and where is a good starting point? With the most popular prime minister, Netanyahu. He took the people’s vote and threw it away to carry out a baseless indictment.”
Netanyahu and the Arab (Palestinian) Problem
In 2009 Netanyahu returned to be the Prime Minister of Israel, a few months after Barack Hussein Obama was elected the President of the United States.
Obama’s first overseas trip was to Cairo, Egypt, from where, on June 4, 2009, he delivered a speech to the Muslim world. In his speech, Obama stated that the only reason the Jews are in the land of Israel is because of the Holocaust’s sufferance, and no historical or legal rights to the land. Netanyahu realized he was facing a problem with the new American administration. He knew he was facing 4, possible 8 years of the Obama administration and he had to be very careful because Israel was that close to receiving sanction after sanction in the United Nations. Netanyahu’s reply to Obama’s speech was the 2009 Bar-Ilan Speech, which was very carefully crafted, based on many ‘ifs’ that could never materialize.
Moshik: “But for the Right wing in Israel it did not matter. In 1992 they toppled Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, which brought about the disastrous Oslo Accords and Yasser Arafat to Israel. And now they are playing the same trick again; to topple Netanyahu and then they will get a Left-wing government and then they will cry that life is so miserable in order to get donations.
“Netanyahu always had one goal, which is to marginalize the Arab (Palestinian) problem. To make peace, without concessions, with major Arab countries despite and without the “Palestinians” approval, a goal that seemed to be unachievable but was achieved after all.
“The Abraham Accords was Netanyahu’s masterpiece.”
Apparently, there is some sort of an affair case on every Right-wing politician in Israel. Apparently, the corruption runs deep in Israel and the people involved are handling it like a mafia-style operation. The project 315 quartet often appears on the TV screen and radio. People ask them, “are you not afraid … you are so courageous.” Should they be afraid?
My goal for this interview was to open an opportunity window for people to forget the propaganda they constantly hear and hopefully they will begin seeing a clearer picture of what is really shaping up in the political life in Israel which will affect all the citizens; to realize that Netanyahu’s leadership is welcome and more so needed.
Adi: “The twelve years of Netanyahu’s premiership were absolutely the best years the state of Israel has experienced. People, who were not wealthy or of better financial means, began traveling abroad often, which they could not afford before Netanyahu’s era; 2 cars per family. The country’s restaurants are always packed. In the city of Tel Aviv, the country’s entertainment center, it appears no one works, they all go out to have fun. Good life indeed. However, people are bitter because of the media’s ongoing propaganda and the brainwashing, which makes people think that life is in fact bad.
“And when you ask people what is so bad, there is no answer.”
It seems they are ingrates.
And now, when life is becoming more difficult and inflation is rapidly increasing, the media tries to convince people that life is good, so they should not complain.
Yes BiBi Reasons
Moshe: “In 1999, after the election, Amnon Abramovich, one of Israel’s top TV commentators, whose political views are identified with the Israeli Left, said that Benjamin Netanyahu is departing the political stage leaving no footnote in history. This remark came after a decade in which Israel, with Netanyahu at the helm, saw so much prosperity and relative peace, the most prosperous era in the Land of Israel since Biblical King David. Netanyahu not only is going to leave a remarkable footnote in history, but the best is yet to come.”
Moshik: “My political view is not romantic. I do not expect my politicians to have good bedside manners or polished behavior. What I expect of them is results. That is what I expect from my leaders and by what I judge them. If I have to choose a leader who is rough around the edges but is advancing the country forward, he is ten times better than a person who is liked by everyone but does nothing good for the country or takes it backward. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is not shared by many people. Most people judge a politician by his or her false modesty, by their Tweeting (President Trump), by their empty so-called unification words. In the end, a leader needs to have two distinct qualities: a very strong and convincing ideology, along with a strong executive power to deliver on it. Netanyahu has the rare capability to have both these qualities, along which he brought major achievements to Israel.
“In the last year, all Israelis have been witnessing how life is under the rule of people who have no vision and no management or executive capability.
“Although it is difficult to admit a mistake, I hope that many people have come to realize the mistakes made. And if they will not vote for Netanyahu, which might be beyond them, perhaps they will not vote at all.
“Hopefully Israel will get a strong Right-wing government as a result of the upcoming November 2022 election, and my prayer is that we will be able to make the right corrections. The hard work, mainly to reform the legal system, will begin if and when we win.
“Though Netanyahu had a decade to reform the justice system the people were not ready for it; Netanyahu did not have the political capital to reform the system. Today, a large number of people are aware of the justice system’s malfunction which will give him the power to act.
“Hopefully Netanyahu will declare his wish to reform the justice system before the election. In my opinion, he should appoint a project manager for the reformation of the legal system, and after the election, the new government will have the plan and the stamp of approval of the people who knew what they voted for.
“The next six months are going to be a rough ride with the current government coupled with Netanyahu’s ongoing trial and with them doing their best to continue smearing him. However, we, the members of Project 315, still believe that Netanyahu is the cleanest politician Israel has ever had.”
Will this long interview change the minds of the “Just not Bibi” camp?
I hope enough people will be able to say Yes BiBi.