Indictment Too Heavy a Load for Netanyahu - Body Language Expert

Netanyahu believes he is a victim, thinks a body language expert, but the load of the indictment is too much for him to carry. This is why he is asking for the support of the people and pointing a finger of blame at everyone but himself, according to the specialist.

Thousands of Israelis were glued to TV screens last week as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation after Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblitt's decided to indict the prime minister in a series of graft probes that include receiving expensive gifts and buying positive coverage in exchange for tax evasion - allegations that Netanyahu denies.

Dr Michelle Stein Teer, an expert on rhetoric and political communication, was one of them.
"He opened his speech with his typical line addressing the citizens of Israel but this time his voice was hoarse and broken as if he was trying to stop himself from crying", said Stein Teer.

Accepting his fate?

The expert, who has been analysing Netanyahu's body language for more than a decade, says that the load was too heavy for the prime minister - his shoulders, which are usually upright, fell as if he was unable to carry the weight of the AG's decision.
"You can see that he didn't sleep much. His whole appearance showed exhaustion and stress. That's why he needed the support of the people, reminding them what he has done for the country he loves", she said.

It was for "her", for Israel, that he fought and got injured, it was for "her" that he lost a brother [amid Entebbe hostage-rescue operation - ed.], and it was for "her" that he led countless battles in a bid to improve "her" image on the international arena.

But his voice dropped when he started talking about the indictment. "But I have to tell you", said Netanyahu, "that it is a difficult, a very difficult, a difficult day for those who support and love me". Stein Teer believes that he meant every single word.

Blaming the system

"It was difficult for Netanyahu to swallow the indictment and one could tell that from the fact that he swallowed his saliva and used the word 'difficult' three times in one sentence while nodding. Also, he closed his eyes on a number of occasions, as if trying to create a divide between himself and the world", said the expert.

Netanyahu believes that he is a victim and blames everyone around him, including the judiciary system and the police for not playing a fair game. "I deeply respect our judiciary but one needs to be blind not to see that something is wrong with the police investigators and the prosecutors", he said in his televised address.

"Netanyahu blinks multiple times, closes his eyes and avoids eye contact and this can tell you that he doesn't believe in the purity of the establishment. He uses the word 'polluted' several times hinting that not only institutions but the entire process against him has been stained", she explained.

While Stein Teer hopes that Netanyahu will be able to prove his innocence, she still thinks it is high time for him to leave to be able to concentrate on his legal battles. "It is not only his reputation that's at risk here. It is the reputation of Israel as a country that fights corruption", she summed up.