Whether you love or hate Prime Minister Netanyahu, he deserves credit. Israeli health officials have announced that Israel is on the verge of ‘wiping out’ the COVID-19 epidemic that has killed over 6,000 Israelis.
Dr. Sharon Elrai-Price, the head of the public health services at the Health Ministry, has told the news conference: “We are very encouraged by the sharp drop in COVID cases. Now, there are only 300 or less from the 55,000 tested daily. This is a significant decrease, and it will now be possible to reopen the economy, the educational system, as well as permitting large weddings and reopening places of entertainment.” The health official went on to say this is a tremendous achievement for the health system and the state of Israel.
And who deserves most of the credit? None other than Bibi, who is currently fighting for his political life and to stay out of the slammer. He is in the midst of one of Israel’s biggest trials ever and faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. From Bibi’s point of view, the COVID-19 breakthrough could not have come at a better time.
The facts …
Consider what has transpired. The PM persuaded Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla to sell Israel a sufficient quantity of the vaccine for the entire adult population. Commenting on Netanyahu’s pitch, Bourla quipped: “Netanyahu was obsessive, calling me dozens of times, even at 3 AM!” But it would appear the Pfizer CEO cut a deal will Bibi for a good reason. Israel has one of the most advanced health services in the world – every Israeli, Jew or Arab, young or old, is enrolled in a public health service. It is highly organized and could immediately kick in and inject millions of Israelis with the vaccine in a relatively short period of time.
It is accurate to say that everything went like clockwork – you just phoned your local health clinic and were immediately informed when and where to go for your Pfizer shot. But this was not a one-way street – in return, Israel has been supplying Pfizer with medical data on those who are vaccinated. This background information and the follow-up results are obviously a considerable contribution to Pfizer’s further development of the vaccine (the names of Israelis are not provided and treated as confidential). This positive COVID news from the non-political health official came just one day after Netanyahu appeared in court, where his trial kicked into high gear with the presentation of evidence against him.
In addition, President Reuven Rivlin has given Bibi the coveted mandate to try and form a new 61-seat majority in Israel’s 120-member Knesset. So, on the one hand, the “king of Israel,” as his stalwarts call him, has pulled off a major COVID success following his peace agreements with several Arab states in the Gulf. How he also manages to be hauled into court to face the music on bribery charges is an enigma – Bibi is loved and revered by many Israelis, while many others despise him.
Consider the words of the late IDF Chief and Mossad director, Meir Dagan, shortly before his death in 2017:
“I am ill and know I am about to die. Soon I will no longer be here. I have no private interest and request nothing for myself. I have nothing against Bibi. He is a smart man, highly educated (MIT), with great energy. For me, the only thing is Israel’s future and welfare. I participated in our toughest wars and fought in terrible battles. Never did I doubt our future and our strength. During these past years, under Netanyahu’s administration, I am beginning to have doubts about the state’s future, and this kills me.
To carry out a mission, four things are required: to define the mission, to appoint a commander, to allocate the means of carrying it out, and to determine the timetable. With Bibi, none of these things are done – they simply do not exist. Therefore, the missions are not executed. Bibi would postpone Mossad operations because he had a political primary election and did not want to run into problems. He did not know how to differentiate between his personal career and the state’s welfare. Bibi is convinced that this is one and the same thing.”
In all fairness and objectivity, it must be stated that Meir Dagan wrote these words before his death in 2017. Since then, what is known is that Netanyahu approved the daring Mossad break-in of Iran’s secret nuclear archives, and most recently, foreign news sources have pointed the finger at Israeli agents for the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons program scientist.