Some seven years ago, on the eve of the 2006 elections, I had an opportunity to chat informally with Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the prime minister. The air was tense at the time. The Likud was facing the greatest debacle in its history and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the party leader, was forced to contend with the establishment of the Kadima Party and the tremendous anger of his own party’s voters at the budget cuts he had inflicted on them as finance minister.
That was the backdrop of the conversation with Mrs. Netanyahu. She was full of anger and complained bitterly about the ungrateful Israeli public and media. “My husband,” she said excitedly, over and over, “saved the Israeli economy. He did great things for the people here and instead of appreciating his contribution, they keep going after him.” I don’t remember if she used the word “persecution,” but there’s no doubt she gave off a strong sense of persecution after repeating over and over, for a whole hour, the same mantra about lack of gratitude.