The present writer received the following report from Israel National News:
“Winograd Panel Member: Why is Olmert Still PM?”
Winograd Committee member Professor Yehezkel Dror wrote in the New York Jewish Forward that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would not still be in power “in any other parliamentary democracy.” The five-member Winograd panel was appointed by the Olmert government to conduct an inquiry into conduct of the Second Lebanon War.
“As found by the commission, the Prime Minister misdirected the war, showing a serious lack of strategic thinking,” Prof. Dror wrote in the left-leaning Forward. “The Defense Minister [Amir Peretz] was ignorant about defense issues. The Cabinet and its committees did not really know what they were deciding most of the time…. The chief of staff imposed a wrong doctrine. The army was not well prepared.
“As a member of the commission, I expected that the Cabinet would resign or be dismissed after the interim report appeared. Indeed, the chief of staff honorably resigned, and the minister of defense was made to leave. The prime minister, however, did not resign, nor was he forced to leave…. Having a highly qualified defense minister helps but cannot make up for the lack of a prime minister with a strategic mind, however good his political mind may be.”
Professor Dror is a Hebrew University political scientist and former winner of the Israel Prize. He wisely published the above remarks in a left-leaning newspaper lest they be dismissed as right-wing polemics.
I wonder, however, about Israel’s right wing, I mean Knesset members associated with the so-called national camp. Each day Olmert or the Olmert Government remains in power degrades Israel and endangers her very existence. It is only because of the gravity of the situation that I raise the following questions:
Why don’t right-minded MKs form a group and hold a press conference to spell out the gross ineptitude of the Olmert Government? Why don’t they reveal the mortal dangers this Government poses to the nation and demand its immediate resignation.
I can understand why Benjamin Netanyahu cannot lead such a group without being accused of opportunism, since he is waiting in the wings as Israel’s next prime minister. But what about MKs like Aryeh Eldad and Effie Eitam?
Why don’t Eldad, who is secular, and Eitam who is religious, team up and organize a massive movement to bring down the Government? Of course, this sort of thing cannot be the norm of political opposition in a parliamentary democracy.
But if Olmert, as Professor Dror says, would not be in power in any other parliamentary democracy, perhaps Israel ought not to be classified as a parliamentary democracy? After all, apart from the national unity government of 1990, no government in this country has ever been toppled by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. And by the way, the “stinking maneuver” between Labor and Shas that brought down that government did not result in any change of its prime minister!
In any event, given the existential hence extraordinary dangers now confronting Israel, extraordinary measures are necessary. This is no time for politics as usual. Our Jewish way of life, our homeland, our freedom, are at stake. Know, therefore, that “moderation in defense of freedom is not a virtue,” and Judaism cannot survive without the Land of Israel.
Are there no men in the Knesset …. or a Golda Meir?