Sunday, October 29, 2006

Human, but

Many of us try to figure out what makes politicians "tick" and what elements, characteristics or personality traits make one person a charismatic leader and another, who may be smarter but nobody cares.
  • Why do we trust some people, but not others?
  • And what's really inside these people?
  • Do they feel as confident inside as they seem to us?

I remember once when someone I know, who is extraordinarily accomplished and successful, made a speech mentioning some insecurities, and most people didn't know how to take it. They were sure that it was a joke. I may have been the only one who considered it a confession, the truth behind the strong, confident persona.

A few years ago there was a little "scandal" when Bibi Netanyahu's careful "staging" was revealed to the public. Lots of people considered it a sign of his phoniness that he was planning every "camera angle" before an appearance. I just considered it a sign of professionalism. No surprise if he's a perfectionist.

When Ronald Reagan was US President, he had to defend himself against charges of using hair dye, since his brown hair made him look younger than his years. But today politicians, both male and female, use lots more than hair dye to give the impression of being young, healthy and vibrant.

The decades of insults and accusations of terrorism took their toll on Menachem Begin. Even a couple of years before he was finally elected Prime Minister, almost thirty years after the State of Israel was established, the British Government declared him a terrorist and wouldn't let him enter England. Their concession was to allow him to meet the British Herut branch in the airport.

The strange thing is that people who knew him from the Polish Army considered him just a "talker," not a fighter at all. I just heard this story tonight when I was hitching home. He was considered the opposite of tough by his army buddies. They weren't surprised when he decided to "change his image" after being elected. He wanted to be a "diplomat" and "make peace." That decision, the Camp David Accords, is the one considered the precedent for Disengagement and all destruction of Jewish communities by the Israeli Government. The people of Israel elected him to be strong and fight for us and to settle the Land, but instead they got Moshe Dayan, the same politician who gave the keys to Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) to the Moslems.

And now what about Ariel Sharon, one of Israel's strongest and most controversial leaders? People have always loved him or hated him. A main part of his power was that he never seemed to care what people said or thought. But apparently, behind the scenes, he was very different.

Sharon's chief confident, Uri Dan, tells of a different Arik Sharon.
In 1999, as Sharon struggled to rebuild the Likud following the defeat of Binyamin Netanyahu, he needed to vent to his trusted longtime friend. Often the topic was his enemies in the Likud. "Uri, you don't know how much they hate me in my party," Sharon would complain to Dan...

"I'd say, 'I know how much they hate you and not just there [in the Likud].'"
According to Dan, Sharon didn't believe he'd ever become prime minister. "He'd even say he didn't believe me. Then he'd say, 'Fine, I'm going to bed.'"

Ever since 1983, when Sharon resigned his position as defense minister following the public backlash in the aftermath of the first war in Lebanon, he had been seen as a failed and finished politician. With the conclusions of the Kahan Commission (that held him indirectly responsible for the massacre of at least 700 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps), most people were certain Sharon would never again hold a top leadership position.

Once he "turned left" everything changed for him. He became the media's "darling." The left loved him, and he was able to get his revenge and destroy the Likud by establishing Kadima.

Love him or hate him, you have to agree that he has left a vacuum, a void. Right, left and center Israelis are complaining that there's no leadership. Even politicians are complaining, which must mean that leadership isn't a job requirement for them.

Again I'm going back to the Bible. When Saul was king, Shmuel the Prophet realized that he needed to be replaced, and we went looking. He knew that the new King would be a son of Yishai. So he went there and asked to see his sons. He didn't find the right one. After careful interrogation, he discovered that there was another, David the Shepherd. David was the right man.

Where is he now?


goyisherebbe said...

I'll tell you where he is. He is in prison in America. His name is Jonathan Pollard.

Batya said...

persicuted, yes
but a leader?