With the latest news about Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau accepting illegal payments (hat tip ht), who will most probably soon announce that he's dropping from the race to be Israel's next President, it's hard to find a list of truly honest public figures.
The "cleaner ones," unfortunately, seem to be missing that strong element of charisma necessary to succeed in public life. Perfect examples are former MK Benny Begin and MK Dr. Arye Eldad.
Charisma is a very special, difficult element to define. Some people have a magic about them which enables others to ignore reality, right and wrong. They are the true leaders, for good and for bad.
Masses of people don't follow prophets of doom, simply because it's not psychologically healthy to do so. To emotionally survive and thrive, we must believe that there are things we can do to make everything better, and they never should be described as "difficult."
Top leaders (top in terms of success, not quality) have solutions to problems, even if they're bad and potentially dangerous solutions. It's hard for honest people to say that it will be easy, when they know that it won't be. That's why the majority of people vote for the worst candidates.
When Ehud Barak ran for Prime Minister of Israel, his American I can get anyone elected if you pay me enough expert recommended that he promise an unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon.
Easy solutions to difficult problems frequently just cause more and worse problems. It got him elected, but that election promise killed many Israelis this summer when Lebanon/Hezbollah bombed Northern Israel from the land Barak gave over to the Hezbollah. Many of our soldiers were killed and wounded in the subsequent war, which ended when another Ehud, this time Olmert, decided to withdraw the troops. None of the announced goals were achieved. The captured soldiers are still in enemy hands, and Hezbollah is rapidly repairing and adding to their terror/war infrastructure, which they are planning to use against us again (G-d forbid, but if we're honest with ourselves, we know it's true.)
Yes, it's hard to show optimism and confidence when you know that all signs point to disaster. PM Olmert smiles broadly and claims that everything's fine and we won the war.
"If you tell a lie, tell a big lie. If you tell a big lie often enough people will believe it." Goebbels
The Israeli public needs a leader who, although accurately reads the problems in our present situation, still has the ability to see and portray doable solutions in terms that will attract us.
The Pied Piper played a pleasant pipe. He didn't bang pot covers.