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Friday, March 9, 2007

From Ha'aretz: No compass, no conscience

As I've written previously, you don't have to be right-wing to be against Olmert and his government.

No compass, no conscience
By Ari Shavit

When Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister and his power was on the wane, he also complained about the whole world. In the late 1990s, when his government was falling apart, Netanyahu stated time and again that he was being treated unjustly. The attorney general was hostile toward him, the state prosecutor was persecuting him, the Likud princes (the scions of the old guard) were betraying him, the police were intrusive and the media were abusing him. He screamed: You've lost your minds, it's impossible to govern this way, it's impossible to run a country this way - in a systematic and evil way, the Israeli elite is trying to undermine the person whom the people voted in as prime minister.

A significant number of Netanyahu's claims were true. The princes, led by Ehud Olmert, did betray him. The judiciary and the police did make things unreasonably difficult for him, the media did lynch him. Indeed, after a whole year in which Israel focused intensively on the Netanyahu question, suddenly the issue lost its meaning. Suddenly it became clear that it no longer mattered whether Netanyahu was right or wrong, whether he was a dangerous demagogue or a martyred saint. After all, a prime minister is elected to govern and ensure that the country's systems function. Therefore, if the prime minister is unable to govern - he has to go. Right or wrong, he has to go. If the country's systems, for which he is responsible, are in a state of disarray, the prime minister needs to go.

This is precisely the point the Olmert government reached this week. On the face of it, this government, which does not rule, had a good week. The bane of the government's existence, Micha Lindenstrauss, made some tactical errors, which gave the prime minister a few points in his favor. For a little while, the horrifying truth behind the way Olmert was running the affairs of the state was silenced.

However, last week was proof that Olmert-led Israel is in utter disarray. There is no policy, no responsibility and no decision-making. There are no morals, no norms, and there is no respect for the law. The home front is not prepared for another war. The Israel Defense Forces is not prepared for another war. No official authority has been established to deal with another war. There is no diplomatic initiative that could prevent the next war.

Against the increasingly growing threats, Olmert's Israel is behaving like an ostrich: It does not see, it does not hear and it does not do. The bug of government negligence is running amok in Jerusalem: an absence of leadership bug, an absence of governance - of anarchy.

This anarchy is what brought us the second Lebanon war. It is what caused the war to be managed the way it was. But much worse is the fact that even after the war, the anarchy continues. It has grown even while the writing is on the wall. Every day of anarchy brings us closer to the next disaster. A catastrophe for which every one who remains silent now is responsible.

Now that the Olmert era has become a nightmare era, the question of whether Olmert is right or wrong is irrelevant. Now, when the government in Jerusalem lacks both direction and a conscience, the question of Olmert vs. Lindenstrauss is not at all interesting. It isn't true that it's all personal. When an unprecedented threat looms on the horizon, nothing is personal. Only responsibility is personal. Only the responsibility of those who in a crucial moment failed to do anything.

History will judge us all. Every minister who continues to sit in this failed government will answer for it. Every member of Knesset who continues to support this disastrous government, will answer for it. And so will every colleague in the press, who cooperated with this disgrace. Every member of a committee of inquiry, who held back in the last minute. No one knows when reality will strike, but it is clear that reality will strike. Olmert-led Israel is not prepared for such a strike, and it is not prepared to deal with it. Israel under Olmert's leadership is struck by blindness and is stewing in its own rot.


beakerkin said...

I have never been a fan of change for the sake of change. The problem is leaders with vision are a rare breed. Maybe if you are lucky you get one every twenty years.

If we are smart we elect Rudy.

Batya said...

Is he really that good?
Is he still a friend of Olmert?

beakerkin said...

I do not think he is a friend of Olmert's.

Rudy came to the Mayor's office on the heels of the Crown Heights riots. For three days the Chasidic community of Crown Heights was besieged with rioters.

Rudy also told a Saudi national to keep his money after a long windied diatribe about Israel. He takes no prisoners and backs his people.

If you run accross a book called A Passion For Truth pick it up. NYC was a horrible place in decline but Rudy changed it with a can do attitude.

The book contains the most important newspaper ccolumn written in NYC. The late Eric Breindel's use of the word Pogrom to describe the Crown Heights riots was the talk of the City. It forced even the secular Jews of Upper East side to rethink blindly voting for a failed Democratic Mayor Dinkins.

Batya said...

I know that they both were, when they were young mayors.
I have no idea what he thinks of him now. If he's really smart, he'll keep his distance.