On the couch with Bibi Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Doc, you don’t know how much I needed this session today. I’m a wreck.
Psychologist: I’m sorry to hear that. What’s going on?
PM: It’s happening again. I feel like I’m fighting with everyone. I feel like I can’t trust anyone. I’m angry all the time. I’m scared.
Psychologist: We’ve spoken about your trust issue here before, several times.
PM: Yes. I know. It’s come up again, I’m left with nobody to trust, no one to confide in.
Psychologist: Tell me what happened.
PM: They took away Nathan. Can you believe it? Let me tell you, that was a total shock. I saw it on TV. On TV! My Nathan, on TV! I was in shock. It’s not good for a Prime Minister to be in shock. And Nathan! My right-hand man and my left-hand man. He’s the only one who knew what the right hand and left hand were doing. My main man. The only one I really could trust from that whole gang. Hendel! Couldn’t trust him. He was too good-looking. He was too serious looking. Too seriously good-looking. He stabbed me in the back. He had to go. I showed him the door the same way I heard about Nathan’s story: on TV. Ha! Showed him. Hendele comes to me, says he’s sorry about how it all came down. I says to the guy: ‘it’s all wrong what you did. I have absolutely no faith in you anymore. None.’ So he says: ‘Ok, well, in that case, I’ll resign immediately.’ And I says to the guy: ‘Ok, but let’s announce it in a day or two, once I find a replacement.’ And then you know what I did doc? I leaked it straight to the TV! Shame, poor Hendele, never knew what hit him. What goes around comes around, that’s what dad always says. And Zvika, I showed him the door too, on live TV. I let him have it. ‘Lock the door, just lock it, why can’t you just do what I tell you to do?’ Poor Zvika, he still hasn’t gotten the message. Wait until he tries to get a spot in the Likud, that will be something heheh.
Psychologist: You’re very angry. I heard they said that they had your best interests at heart. Are you maybe being too harsh?
PM: Rubbish. Of course I’m angry. I’m not being harsh enough. I could be much, much harsher, believe me. But we are in a vibrant democracy after all. The only one in the Middle East. These guys, these jokers, Hendel, Hauser and Locker betrayed my trust. They went behind my back doctor. They deserve to get booted out. I can’t work with people like that.
Psychologist: Let’s get back to Eshel. Why are you so upset about him? I mean, he did after all harass a member of your staff. He did take inappropriate photos of her. He hacked into her mail. This man was obviously creating an unhealthy atmosphere in your office, and, in a sense, now that he’s gone, the unhealthy atmosphere is also gone. You should be happy about that. Perhaps not at the way it was done, but the final result is the same. But you’re really upset about losing him, aren’t you. disproportionately upset, aren’t you? Let’s explore that.
PM: They took away my Eshel. My Eshel, he was mine. My loyal, loyal Eshel. Loyalty like that comes around once, maybe twice in a prime ministerial term. I trusted him like I trust you. I told him everything. He’s done so much for me, for my office, for this country, for the Likud. It’s a tragedy. I’m in grief. I’m grieving doctor. So is Sarale.
Psychologist: Your wife is grieving?
PM: Yes, it’s been an emotional roller-coaster for her too. Eshel was her man in the Prime Minister’s Bureau also. It’s been very hard for her too. She’s also lost a trusted friend in the PMO.
Psychologist: I see. So she is also upset at all this. But tell me, why does she need ‘a man in the bureau?’
PM: What do you mean ‘why does she need a man in the bureau?’ She needs to know what’s going on there, and I don’t always have the time to tell her. She’s the only one I can trust doctor. She’s my rock, my best friend, my partner. I can’t do this without her. She is very wise.
Psychologist: And now she’s upset?
PM: Oh doctor, you have no idea. You have no idea what it’s like getting up in the morning when the lady of the house is upset at you; then going to work in the morning to an office where everybody is upset at you. Then going to the Knesset, where everybody is upset at you. Then going home again. I’m not even talking about the traffic. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. Not even Thomas Friedman. It’s not easy being the Prime Minister of Israel. It’s lonely at the top.
Psychologist: Yes, we’ve discussed that before. Do you want to talk about it?
PM: I don’t mind the responsibility, you know. I know my history. My father is a historian. I know why I’m here now, at this moment in time. Others around me still go about their daily lives without knowing why they were put on this earth. I wonder what that must be like, doctor, living your life without knowing what your higher purpose is, why you were put on this earth. Is it blissful ignorance? I’ve never known that. I’ve always known why I was put here doctor. These people, when they look up, they see me. I can give them the answers they seek. I can give them the orders they need. I can calm then down. But when I look up, I see no one. And what do I ask for in return? Trust. Just trust. That feeling that you and I can look into each other’s eyes, man to man, or man to woman, and talk dugri to each other.
Psychologist. Is there really nobody you can trust? Is it really that bad?
PM: Nobody. Look around you man, it’s all gone to shit. Mubarak is gone. I could trust him. The new guys, you can’t trust them. They’re terrible. Assad. I could trust him. I don’t like him and there’s a lot we don’t agree on. But I could trust him to keep things quiet on the border. Now he’s on his way out. Abbas? Can’t trust him – he doesn’t tell the truth to his own people, you think he’s going to tell me the truth? Obama? Don’t make me laugh. He says ‘all options are on the table.’ I say: ‘some options, some table!’ He won’t give me a straight answer. I ask him, Mr. President, tell me dugri, if we don’t attack the Iranians now, will you stop them before they are able to put together a bomb? You know what he says doc? He says: ‘Bibi, you can count on me to do give diplomacy a chance all the way to the end, and then if we reach the end of the road with diplomacy, I’ll keep all the options on the table.’ What’s that supposed to mean? You’re a shrink, can you figure out what that means? No, you can’t either. And neither can I. And Barak, I’m not sure I can trust him either. I think he might be planning on sending the army to Iran without me. I’m not basing this on anything concrete, just a hunch, paranoia maybe, you know. The media? Ha! I’m not even going to talk about them.
Psychologist: So, what you’re telling me is that you’re feeling alone, with nobody to confide in, nobody to offload to. And it’s all happening at such a critical time for you, what with the Iran thing and all.
PM: The Iran thing is actually a relief from all of this other stuff, let me tell you. Thank God I made that decision long ago – thanks to your help. I was so confused about it; couldn’t decide this way or that way. It was driving me mad. But you put things in perspective for me doc. That’s why I still trust you.