Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.
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Tel Aviv, May 25 – The week after an acrimonious end to negotiations between Likud and Labor over the formation of a national unity government, the head of Labor is surreptitiously and wistfully monitoring every photo, status, video, comment, and reaction of the prime minister on social media.
Isaac Herzog has repeatedly visited the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat profiles of Binyamin Netanyahu over the last week and a half, his fingers and eyes lingering over each development with a mixture of longing and remorse etched onto his face. Observers report that Herzog can be heard alternately muttering retorts or snide comments at Netanyahu’s posted content and staring, holding back tears.
He has also established a second, separate identity in each of those applications, under which the Zionist Union faction leader has paid visits to the profile pages of Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Liberman in each of those social media platforms, and left critical, derogatory, or passive-aggressive comments. Liberman is currently involved in negotiations to accept a senior cabinet position in Herzog’s stead after the latter refused to accept Netanyahu’s conditions for membership in the governing Coalition.
“You should lose weight,” commented Instagram user DefinitelyNotBuji on the most recent photos posted by Liberman. The same user ID could be seen referring to Liberman as a “rebound” on Twitter and wishing him various misfortunes on Facebook. But most of Herzog’s time and attention online has been devoted to devouring every post and comment of Netanyahu while making a supreme effort not to let the prime minister know he has been doing so.
Some observers suspect Netanyahu does know. “When Bibi announced in front of the entire Knesset yesterday that his door was still open to Herzog, it has to be seen in the context of last week’s breakup,” said analyst Caroline Hax. “Netanyahu loves tormenting Buji. He hasn’t faced an Opposition head so victimizable in so long, he’s clearly enjoying himself. The guy is heartless, but it’s never been about the heart for him. It’s about power, and he holds all the cards.”
Herzog has also been observed trying to make a show in Netanyahu’s presence of having a healthy alliance with other MKs, with mixed success. The Opposition leader’s efforts to make Netanyahu either jealous or regretful appear to have had little effect on the premier, but they have aroused the ire of his longtime partner in the Zionist Union leadership, Hatnua chief Tzipi Livni, despite both party leaders’ understanding that any relationship with Livni is inherently temporary.
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