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Benjamin Netanyahu; Pied Piper of Hamelin!

Israeli people do not forgive failures in ensuring their security. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israel lost approximately 3,000 soldiers following a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria, then-Prime Minister Golda Meir resigned from politics. Even today, her name is still mentioned with hatred by some segments of the country.

What has happened following the bloody attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023, has had even more devastating consequences than the events of October 6, 1973. In 1973, Meir had lost soldiers, people who knowingly put their lives in danger. Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, lost civilians, the people whom the state and the military were supposed to protect. This has led to an increase in the anger directed towards him.

Recent polls in Israel indicate that public anger is very high. In response to the massacre by Hamas, Israelis rallied not around Netanyahu but around their flags. An after-poll conducted among Israelis shows that 86% of Jews believe that the attack by Hamas is an indication of the failure of the country’s leadership. Even within this statistic, 79% of those who voted for the government believe that Netanyahu should resign after the end of the war. The percentage of those calling for Netanyahu’s resignation after the war is 56%.

The polls suggest that Netanyahu has reached the end of the road. According to the latest poll, the current far-right coalition can only secure 42 out of 120 seats in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Even the opposition is not spared from this anger. Only 29% believe that Netanyahu is still suitable to be the Prime Minister.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister, has frequently stated, “I want to be remembered as Israel’s protector,” including during election campaigns. He has also confidently tried to garner support by saying, “You may not like me, but only I can keep you safe.” At one point, he stated, “The Jewish nation has never been successful in recognizing danger in advance. Under my leadership, such a thing will never happen.”

Those legendary words of Netanyahu will be remembered as he presided over the biggest security vulnerability in Israeli history. He will never be elected as Prime Minister again.

The events on October 7 did not just hit a politician; they also struck a blow to the founding values of the country. The Hamas massacre has been compared to the September 11 attacks by many. When President George Bush led the response to the biggest terrorist attack on American soil, the country rallied behind him. However, the Jewish people established Israel because they had suffered destructive attacks for years, and the purpose of this state was to prevent such attacks from happening.

In other words, unlike America, Israel exists to prevent the next massacre. However, over the past three weeks, the Jewish people have been etching unforgettable images into their memories, reminiscent of the worst traumas in their history. Thousands of children have lost their lives, thousands of parents have been killed in front of their children, and images of families being burned alive and terrified youth have been broadcasted to the world.

The descendants of those who survived the ‘Holocaust Jewish Genocide’, in which about 6 million Jews were systematically exterminated during the Nazi era, have been sharing their stories frequently in recent days. Israelis are hoping for an end to the events, saying, “I never thought I would live to see something worse than the stories I grew up with.”

The anger has reverberated in the streets. Victims and survivors began protesting government officials during hospital visits to the wounded. The headquarters of the ruling Likud party was attacked. It was reported that Netanyahu interrupted a speech he was giving to reserve soldiers in the army when some in the crowd protested against him. 80% of Israelis want Netanyahu to take public responsibility for the events on October 7.

The list of Benjamin Netanyahu’s failures is quite long. He supported Hamas as a balance element against the more moderate Palestinian Authority to keep the Palestinian people divided and prevent negotiated two-state solutions. He ensured the transfer of millions of dollars from Qatar to Gaza, believed to be used in terrorist financing. During Netanyahu’s tenure, Gazans were allowed to work in Israel, and it is believed that some of these individuals played a role in planning the attacks.

In 2011, in exchange for an Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas, more than a thousand convicted Palestinian prisoners were released by Netanyahu. One of the released prisoners is Yahya Sinvar, who is now the leader of Hamas in Gaza.

Since returning to power in December, Netanyahu has created unprecedented unrest within the country and divided the people. He dismissed ministers who opposed decisions made, removed state officials who could have taken significant steps towards peace, and replaced them with ideological loyalists. While being tried for corruption, he approved the entry of an far-right alliance into the parliament to maintain his fragile power. Then, he offered key positions to inexperienced members of this alliance. One of them is the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

The disaster on October 7 was the result of Netanyahu’s years of wrong choices. In the end, the man who once said, “I want to be remembered as Israel’s protector,” failed and left his people in distress. Leaders of the last century are all similar; they tell a legend about themselves (like the leader of the nation) and force others to believe it.

Netanyahu is like the piper of the village of mice in Israeli politics. Just like in the legend of “Pied Piper of the Hamelin,” where many children left their homes and met their deaths in a German town in the Middle Ages, Netanyahu has entered the legends as the one who issued the death warrant for thousands of innocent children.

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YÜKSEL DURGUT is a journalist with a primary focus on global politics and foreign affairs. He serves as the Foreign Relations Director of the International Journalists Association e.V. and holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at Journalist Post.

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