Opposition leader Isaac Herzog launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, accusing him of suffering from “Tisha B’Av syndrome,” and saying that Israel needs someone to lead, not instill fear.
Referencing a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Netanyahu had rebuked Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for placing too many contracted workers in direct employment, Zionist Union chair Herzog called the prime minister a manipulator of people’s fears.
“This is the precise opposite of what leadership should do,” he wrote on Facebook. “Its role is to safeguard the country’s diplomatic, social and security strength; a nation cannot function this way nor can a government. There has never been an Israeli leader who has invested so much effort in intimidation and threats, no one who has made his primary political tool the ‘Tisha B’Av syndrome’, the same old threat of destruction and extinction, as Netanyahu has.”
Comparing Netanyahu unfavorably to the Jewish state’s founding father and first prime minister, Herzog wrote: “David Ben-Gurion, in the country’s darkest hours, used the Bible as a social-diplomatic platform for optimism, not the opposite. It was based more on Ecclesiastes than the Book of Lamentations.”
Saturday is the eve of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, when the Jewish people remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Jews fast for 25 hours and read aloud from the Book of Lamentations, which recalls the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE, when the First Temple fell.